In the wake of Google's decision to purchase Motorola, rumors are starting to spread that Motorola competitor Samsung has its eye on WebOS, the operating system originally developed for the Palm line of handheld devices and recently left in a lurch after current owner Hewlett Packard decided to get out of the PC-manufacturing business. As Marguerite Reardon explains:
WebOS has always been considered a strong operating system with innovative features. The products unfortunately never took off. But Samsung could use the software to help differentiate itself not only from is fellow Android handset makers, but also Apple and Nokia, which is it tied to Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 software.
Samsung may also find WebOS's intellectual property useful in protecting itself against a wave of growing legal challenges in the mobile market. Many experts say that Google wants to buy Motorola not for the products, but for the patents the company holds so it can defend itself from lawsuits aimed by Apple, Microsoft, and others.
Writing elsewhere, Ethan McKinney thinks that the move could turn Samsung into a major player in the mobile environment, not just as a manufacturer but as an operating-system provider:
Conceivably, the market volume of Samsung phones could enable Samsung to establish its own platform with WebOS, if it is willing to make a financial sacrifice and drive WebOS into the market by giving it away for free and building an entire platform that includes phones, tablets, appliances and PCs. Samsung certainly has the means and breadth to challenge Google, Apple and Microsoft/Nokia.
Of course, it's important to note that this is all speculation. Samsung and HP have each offered a firm "no comment" to questions on the subject from the tech press, which could well mean anything. Still... intriguing idea, isn't it?