Amazon to buy WebOS from HP?

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The Internet has been awash with rumours that Amazon is planning to make a bid for the orphaned WebOS, the operating system abandoned by HP when it scrapped its tablet and phone operations a matter of weeks ago. If it's true then the big question has to be why - and particularly why now?
There's a certain logic to acquiring the software but there's a major drawback as well. First the positives.

WebOS was developed by Palm. Palm failed to sell enough phones based on the system to make it work commercially, in spite of very successful beginnings only a couple of decades ago as a pioneer in the hand-held market.

We all know fortunes rise and fall, but the thing is it was very well regarded indeed by reviewers and users. The hardware might have looked a little blocky and the marketing dollars needed ramping up but the underlying software was solid and received very nicely.

So HP bought it. Then there was a corporate turnaround and HP un-bought it, or at least announced that it didn't really have a future. CEO Leo Apotheker announced the intention to divest HP of it, followed closely a week or so later by HP divesting itself of Leo Apotheker. But any thoughts about HP pushing WebOS into some sort of bright new future are redundant now.

So, well-regarded software but it needs a big company with ambitions in the hand-held market to make it work. Sounds like Amazon..?

Except that Amazon has just announced - last week for goodness' sake - its entry into the mobile computing market with the Kindle Flame, and it's Google Android based. This will be a full-blown tablet computer rather than just a reader as the original Kindle is.

Of course companies can change operating systems, decide they're going to go with something else - next year Nokia will be coming out with Windows Phones after years of slavishly producing models based on Symbian. But Android has convincing market share and is well liked. It's difficult to imagine Amazon abandoning it, or even diluting its message, only a week after announcing its new cash cow.

That doesn't make it impossible, and some of the sources on Amazon buying WebOS are usually quite reliable. But the exact logic, even if it's available at a knock-down price, eludes me more than a bit. What do you think?
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