Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) said on Monday that it has sold the webOS operating system technology to LG Electronics, Inc., giving the dying operating system another round of life. LG says that it intends to use webOS to support its next-generation Smart TV technology, not in its mobile devices.
Hewlett-Packard acquired webOS in 2010 in its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm, Inc.
Per the definitive agreement, LG gets licenses under HP’s intellectual property (including patents covering fundamental operating system and user interface technologies widely-used by the industry today), the source code, associated documentation, engineering team and related websites associated with webOS. HP, who says it will continue to support Palm users, is keeping all of Palm’s cloud computing assets, including source code, infrastructure, team and contracts.
"The open and transparent webOS technology offers a compelling user experience that, when combined with our own technology, will pave the way for future innovations using the latest Web technologies," said Skott Ahn, president and chief technology officer at LG.
On Sunday, HP unveiled its Slate7, a consumer tablet with a 7-inch screen running the Android Jelly Bean operating system. The new tablet will retail with prices starting at $169, according to the company. Ironically, it was the tablet business that HP was looking to get into when it acquired webOS three years ago, but its highly-touted TouchPad (powered by webOS) never got legs under it.
The HP Slate7 delivers the Google (GOOG) experience with services like Google Now, Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive and Google+ Hangouts for multiperson video chat as well as access to apps and digital content through Google Play.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that HP Chairman Ray Lane and other board members were to be in meetings on Monday with some of the company’s largest investors that are looking to do their best to unseat Lane and directors John Hammergren and G. Kennedy Thompson at the company’s annual meeting on March 20.
Shares of HPQ stormed ahead on Friday by beating Wall Street expectations as CEO Meg Whitman seems to be giving the company some much needed stability. Now, in reality, analysts didn’t set the bar real high with their predictions, but a win is a win and shares jumped more than $2 each on the news. Shares are trading flat today around $19.25 with any optimism potentially stemming from the new tablet and asset sale being pared by the board controversy.
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