In the rush to analyze what HP just did, everyone is throwing around a ton of ideas for what happens next. Of those, Nicholas Carlson’s is the best so far.
Dan Frommer calls this “not a crazy idea”. I’d go farther. It’s a good one given Facebook’s vision. They clearly believe in HTML5 and are working towards that future, but at the same time, they need their own mobile OS solution. WebOS would give them the best of both worlds.
Facebook has tried to fork Android to make their own flavor, but whispers suggest that hasn’t worked as well as was hoped. WebOS could be fully their’s — for a price.
The idea of Amazon buying webOS makes some sense too, but they’re likely already too far down the path of building their own Android fork. We should hear more about that soon.
Google is another wild card. They already have Android and Chrome OS, so why buy a third OS? Well, if the Palm patents were included, that would be one reason. But more generally, webOS is also in-line with their vision of a web-based future. Certainly part of it could help Chrome OS and/or Android.
But a certain $12.5 billion deal that just went down may preclude a webOS deal.
One final thought: HP bought Palm for $1.2 billion. Given the current market, Palm’s patent portfolio alone is likely worth much more than that. HP’s move could go from dumbfounding to genius if they spin those patents off for several times what they paid for all of Palm.
Update 2: Yeah, this puppy is getting sold.