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In Retreat from Mobile, HP May Sell Off WebOS Patents

by Jacob Kleinman | October 24, 2013October 24, 2013 11:30 am PST


HP’s failed foray into the smartphone market with webOS is one of the tech industry’s favorite scary stories. After acquiring Palm, the company pushed out a handful of smartphones and even a tablet, but quickly fell behind on shipments and eventually shuttered the operating system entirely. Today, the company uses Android and Windows software to power its tablets—while swiftly denying any potential smartphone rumors—but Bloomberg reports the company could still make some money off of webOS in a potential patents sale.

Citing the usual anonymous sources, the report claims HP chief executive officer Meg Whitman has quietly approached several possible buyers in an effort to raise the company’s funds. Bloomberg also notes the computer-maker recently removed several restrictive conditions attached to its mobile patents ahead of a potential sale.

The patents would likely be used for legal leverage rather than to release a new device, though it’s not impossible that a new webOS smartphone or tablet could emerge from the sale. The operating system itself is now open source, while LG purchased the rights to the software earlier this year with plans to build a smart TV around it.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...