HP CEO Meg Whitman took to the stage at HP's Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas today, and what she said was both encouraging and left us with our mouths hanging wide open. According to reports from the event, Whitman reiterated HP's commitment to webOS as an open source platform, stating that "it will take 2-5 years to fully play out" the impact of webOS on the mobile ecosystem. So HP is committed to webOS for the long haul, that's a good thing.
But then Meg went a little off the rails, suggesting that Google's now-approved purchase of Motorola Mobility could lead to Android going closed source in the future, opening the door to licensees for webOS. We'll be the first to admit that such a scenario is the dream sequence of events for HP and Microsoft, but it's not going to happen. The only way Google makes money off Android right now is by serving ads to mobile websites and through apps. That's it. Unless Google could dramatically grow Motorola device sales to cover the hundreds of thousands of daily activations Android sees today and in the future, Google has no reason to take Android closed source.
Now we have no doubt that Google is going to play a strong role in the development of Motorola's Android products going forward, and that no doubt will worry and irritate other Android licensees. Could that drive them to adopt Windows Phone and webOS to mitigate the risks posed by competing with a supplier? Sure, that could happen. But we don't see anything as drastic or insane as the closed source switch-up Whitman is suggesting.
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