HTC Open to Buying webOS

Posted by at 10:43 am on September 12, 2011

HTC chairwoman Cher Wang in an interview said her company has considered buying a mobile OS for itself. Following HP’s decision to exit webOS hardware and possibly license the platform, the HTC executive acknowledged that the company had discussed the prospect of buying an OS but would “not do it on impulse.” She told the Economic Observer that the company thrives on making an OS distinct but that it could do this with its custom Sense interface on top of Android or Windows Phone instead.

“Our strength lies in understanding an OS, but it does not mean that we have to produce an OS,” Wang said.

The Taiwan-area smartphone producer may feel heat from its current OS choices. Most of its business is now based on Android and carries a considerable risk if its initial loss to Apple is upheld and if its multiple countersuits don’t pan out. Microsoft is trying to use its claimed ownership of Android-related patents to force HTC to use Windows Phone 7, but the platform hasn’t gained traction and could see HTC return to its days as a niche Microsoft supporter.

WebOS has nonetheless only ever had a small share of the market and might be anathema to HTC, even if considered technically superior in some areas. Palm and later HP have had difficulty overcoming a stigma of cheaper devices and the perception that it can’t significantly challenge Android or the iPhone.

Other candidates have largely been ruled out of buying webOS or another platform. Samsung ruled it out altogether and is committed to supporting its own Bada beyond Android and Windows Phone.

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