Samsung Reportedly Considering webOS Acquisition, Korean Government Urges a Move away from Android


While Samsung was most recently  tied to rumors that the company was considering the purchase of HP’s PC operations to bolster their own computer business, it could be the company’s webOS platform that the Korean electronics giant has in its sights. According to a report coming out of DigiTimes, Samsung is considering the acquisition of webOS to help the company compete head-to-head with Apple and Google. The move is said to be spurred on by Google’s recent takeover of Motorola. Put about as much stock into the rumors as you would any coming out of DigiTimes, as we know their reporting can often be hit or miss.

In related news, the Korean government is urging Samsung and LG to loosen their dependency on Google’s platform. Given Google’s recent Motorola deal and an increasing pressure on Android manufacturers originating in the patent courts, Korea’s deputy commerce minister does not see long-term relations with Google as fruitful. Instead, he hopes that the two Korean companies will join a coalition to develop a new mobile operating system. Industry analysts have been quick to point out that dropping Android would be just about the worst decision Samsung could make right now. They have jumped to the front of the smartphone pack thanks to their recent work with Google and any move to change that would most likely have a negative impact.

[via BGR, PC Advisor]

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  1. Android isn’t the problem. The problem lays in Touchwiz’s similar App dock. Just change it so Apple is happy, and that would solve the problem.

    1. just get rid of touchwiz altogether. if a manufacturer were to start only releasing stock android i’m sure they would see a very nice uptick in sales.

      1. As a customer, I would prefer stock Android. It helps me be more comfortable switching between tablets. Just as now, one Windows PC is exactly like any other.

        It’s in the OEM’s best interest to customize the OS. They want you dependent on their peculiar features so that you’ll stay brand loyal. So unless their customizations are horrible (*cough* MotoBlur *cough*) you’re unlikely to persuade them. Sadly.

        1. Once upon a time, I believed I could persuade them by not buying their crappy products. That is why I still have an OG Droid. Unfortunately, few people are using my persuasion tactic.

      2. Ya that is why the Nexus S 4g out sold the Evo 4g during the same time period. Oh wait it is the other way around. Stock android is boring and has less functionality then Touchwiz or Sense.

        1. There are a lot of factors that would have pushed the Evo 4g to sell more units, the stock OS vs HTC Sense likely was NOT one of them. Majority of consumers know nothing about this issue we complain about. Marketing and Sprint store sales people were likely the biggest factor.

          1. The huge ad-campaign may have contributed a little bit.

          2. Or maybe because the EVO was simply still a more appealing phone despite it’s age.

          3. I been to many Sprint store and there paid is not base on sale so the rep. is not the biggest factor. The biggest factor is the band and the software. If someone who don’t know the different between, stock vs. non-stock. They will see that the Evo has a “cooler” looking software and music player is better and the widget look better. Guess what they will pick up first? Even people here know the different between 2.3.4 to 2.3.5?

    2. Giving in to a bully doesn’t solve the underlying problem. Just the problem today. The bully will be back. Then they’ll be back again. Give me your lunch money.

      Any settlement with Apple would likely require Samsung to sign something that requires Samsung to drop current and future countersuits against Apple. Probably also vice versa.

      However, Apple can still sue Google and other Android partners, thus directly or indirectly hurting the platform Samsung builds its business upon.

      1. I guarantee you if Samsung adds WebOS to its list of OSes installed on their hardware, Apple will sue them for those devices. WebOS has a LOT in common with iOS. Jon Rubenstein, who pretty much created WebOS, left Apple shortly after the iPhone launched. You can see similarities in the two, but Apple ignored all this because WebOS wasn’t a major player. Once an OEM gets their hands on it and slaps in on a beast of a handset, and it generates mass interest, Apple’s lawyers will be deployed. I worry for WebOS in such a scenario…

        1. I’m sure Apple wasn’t worried about WebOS because Palm had a strategy (or tragedy) guaranteed to fail.

          In short Palm wanted to do what Apple was doing. Everything on their own. No partners. Palm to make the hardware, and OS.

          Google on the other hand recognized the value of not making any hardware but instead work with EVERY other hardware maker and EVERY mobile operator (not just AT&T) to take over the world.

          Now Apple is jealous. But Apple could have adopted a strategy of licensing iOS to other hardware vendors — like Microsoft did, like Google did.

    3. who cares what apple wants? they are irrelevant, and they basically lost the lawsuit against samsung too.

      1. Apple isn’t completely de-fanged, de-clawed and neutered yet.

    4. Not the app dock but rather the picture gallery and bounce animations.

  2. yes, being the #2 smartphone vender with Android has been awful for sammy. :rolleyes:

    Google has made two moves though that are troubling. Not releasing honeycomb..even though they must. This is a hint that google does what it wants, when it wants. And then the acquisition of moto.

    1. Huh…they released Honecomb. What do you mean?

      1. I think he/she is talking about Google not releasing Honeycomb open-source code like they did for other Android versions. I think Google did not release it due to admitting to the fact that Honeycomb is not quite ready for prime time and still incomplete (probably also due in part to lawsuits). Also, they do not want developers to port Honeycomb to cellphone since it’s made specifically for tablets, and they are not even sure if it works on cellphone. Due to some of those reasons, Google does not want Honeycomb to be developed on. However, the next version, Ice cream, will be open-sourced. Ice cream will also solve the fragmentation version problems that android platform has been having, allowing it to be used on both phones and tablets.

  3. That would be the dumbest decision ever. They could make both but making just WebOS? Foolish.

    1. +1. Google has no interest in the hardware business – their profit comes from search and adwords. The other manufacturers should not be concerned about Moto.

    2. My loyalties lie with Android, Not Samsung. I hope they keep that in mind

  4. Put Touch Wiz on top of Bada, Android, or webOS and it all looks the same so what’s the point?

    1. Or kill TouchWiz and put a WebOS style skin on Android, which seems much better in my opinion.

  5. Buying WebOS is a great idea. Actually, I hope Google buys it.

    The reason? Because I’ll bet Palm, and WebOS have a lot of patents going back to the 1990’s dealing with gestures, touch screens, handheld and tablet designs, etc.

    1. I too think it would be good idea for google to aquire webOS. Not just for the patents to use in court cases, but for the entire crew of people and designs that could be incorporated into Android. One of the former heads of WebOS already signed on with Google and is helping with Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich

    2. If they were filed in the 1990s most of them are probably void

      1. I think you mean expired.

        It depends on the date of filing.

        I suspect Palm kept coming up with new things throughout the 90’s.

        But even if the patents are expired, they may also be useful to invalidate some current patents.

  6. I disagree, I think webos is a solid platform and samsung could explode if they used it…. Touchwiz is hot garbage. Galaxy s 2 with webos would be a serious player…. They would however have to develop that app market…

    1. The problem is that developers want a platform that is independent of both carriers and OEM’s. Being tied to a single OEM, even if on multiple carriers, is a step backward for developers.

      The time for Palm to be trying to get major developer support for WebOS was back in 2009, or even 2008. Palm seriously dropped the ball on that. Having the phone only on Sprint and only from Palm (instead of a variety of OEMs) was also a mistake.

      I loved WebOS as a platform. But due to these decisions, and the opposite approach by Google is why I recognized that, like it or not, Android would win.

  7. Apple’s recent lawsuits are going to be ruled in favor of Samsung. Apple is just wasting their money. Samsung has climbed to the top of the mobile phone business because of Android. To drop the best system that has gotten them where they are today is just crazy. WebOS has failed over and over again, maybe Samsung can turn that platform around with sound hardware but to drop Android will kill them. Android is just going to continue to grow whether Samsung is making hardware for Android or not. GOOGLE JUST RULES.

  8. People seem to forget that Samsung does more than make phones, and there’s a likely chance that WebOS would fit better than Android in another platform that’s not phones. No matter what they do, Samsung knows that there’s money to be made using Android, and till that changes, they will continue using it, no matter if the own WebOS or not

  9. Doesn’t Samsung understand that a big reason why the Galaxy S and Galaxy S2 handsets are so popular is because they use Android. I’ve had both the SGS and SGS2 and think they are great phones. However, I wouldn’t have even glanced at those had they came with anything other than Android.

    1. ^ this.
      I really dont see Samsung ditching Android, just looking at its profits from its mobile division should be enough. Just need to get passed Apple’s lawsuits claiming they are the genesis of the tech industry…

      Besides, if anything, Samsung is also planning to sell windows phones too, not that I would consider buying one but surely there are some people that would

    2. When you own the OS, you end up with a lot higher profit margins. Just look at Apple. You might mention that Android is free to use, but Google gets the sales from the Market, whereas if you own the platform, you get to sell the apps. Plus, you can have a lot better hardware acceleration in house and not have to worry about being behind with updates because you send out the updates. The software guys get to work directly with the hardware guys to make the best products you can make and unlike with Android, if you get a consumer hooked on the OS, they’re guaranteed to buy another piece of hardware from you. On top of all that, for a company as big as Samsung, its hard not to take a defensive stand with the recent Motorola acquisition by Google. Its hard to bet the farm on something when there’s a chance you’ll get the rug pulled out from under you. If you own the OS, you control your destiny. Just look at Apple for any more reasons why having an in house OS might be good. Plus, I don’t see them ditching Android anytime soon, just maybe looking to complement those devices with some WebOS ones.

  10. This is hilarious. Problem: Samsung is reliant on Android for its smartphone business. Solution: Stop using Android?

    In spite of Android’s spectacular success (or, bizarrely because of it?), growing numbers of people seem to believe that anyone can make a great mobile platform and that every other existing mobile platform is just as good as Android.

    If webOS is just as good as Android, why has it floundered through both Palm and HP’s stewardship? If Samsung could be successful with any other mobile platform, why are Bada and WP7 still marginal players?

    Last point: in the legal disputes with Apple, Android isn’t the problem. Success is. If any other success were to be found with any other mobile platform, the lawsuits would follow.

    1. I would say the reason why WebOS failed in the hands of both Palm and HP is that both underestimated it. Palm underestimated the need for the hardware to match the software. If that hadn’t been the case, we might have seen a different mobile landscape today. HP underestimated it because I don’t think HP fully understood why they bought it or what they intended to do with it. I think they saw a cheap mobile OS that maybe could’ve helped them get into the handset/tablet market, but didn’t want to fully commit the resources to make it a success.

      The main thing to remember is: Android costs Samsung nothing to use. Pretty simple. Having to switch to a licensed OS or building a new from the ground up are an expensive and vastly more expensive route, respectively, for Samsung to take.

      Maybe in a year or two, when WP7 has had a chance to penetrate and either gain a foothold or flounder, will OEMs be able to look at the market and gauge whether or not another OS can be supported and thrive. Can enough innovation come from two OSes owning 95% of the market? Can WP7 make a dent at this stage in the game, resulting in a three-way tie? Is it even feasible for a fourth OS to obtain enough market share to be profitable, much less successful, in the wireless arena?

      1. you obviously don’t know wtf you’re talking about. This is Samsung, not HP. Sammy has that midas touch. Don’t you worry

        1. LOL Just wow. Not sure what it is going to take for the Samsung excuse makers to humble themselves.

          It is funny because the way Samsung tries to copy Apple is the exact same way you all copy their fanboys in excuse making.

    2. WebOS has never had the right owner. Both Palm and HP fitted WebOS to underpowered or underutilized devices and HP gave up on WebOS way too early. In the hands of an OEM like Samsung, WebOS has a small chance of flourishing. It takes a really good company like Apple to do vertical integration with much success. HP and Palm weren’t up to it, and maybe Samsung isn’t, but I think they stand a better chance.

  11. People don’t seem to realize that WebOS didn’t fail because it sucked. WebOS failed because its first device (Pre) was released with Sprint exclusivity.

    When I first saw videos of WebOS I almost lost control of my bowels. It was so fresh and intuitive. Unfortunately, I am on Verizon and I certainly wasn’t switching carriers for an unproven OS. A lot of people were interested in the Pre when it first came out, but Sprint was a pretty weak player back then. That was back when there were even rumors that Sprint was going to go belly up or get purchased by a larger carrier. The Evo 4G and a couple of dumb moves by competitors has since saved them, but still…it would’ve been a huge gamble for anyone to switch at that time.

    They got no developer support and by the time the Pre came to Vzw everybody was like “meh”.

    1. LOL weak. Android was released on one carrier – T-mobile for the longest time as well. WebOS died because Palm wouldn’t open up their hardware development and they had strict control over the OS, plus the pre was pretty bad hardware wise and Palm refused to innovate with better hardware and specs.

      1. The Pre was probably a really cool concept on paper, but it wasn’t the greatest phone, hardware-wise, once it hit production. WebOS is such a smooth running OS, they probably didn’t need the physical keyboard at all. I think Palm really underestimated WebOS; it definitely should have gotten more attention than it did.

      2. “Android was released on one carrier – T-mobile for the longest time as well.”

        That only supports my point. The G1 didn’t make Android relevant at all. The OG Droid did that. I don’t believe that was solely because of solid hardware. It was also because T-Mobile is a weak carrier just like Sprint used to be. No OS is going to hit market saturation with T-Mobile or Sprint exclusivity. They just don’t have the influence or the subscribers.

        Had WebOS hit all the major carriers (regardless of hardware) before Android was relevant, it would have had a real chance. By the time the Pre came to verizon Android was gaining momentum and no one was interested in WebOS (especially when we all realized how crappy the Pre was).

        1. I had an original Pre and I can tell you WebOS lacked a lot of APIs at release time that helped to dig its grave even quicker. That and the fact that it was released in one form factor (a portrait slider) that many people didn’t care for (a slab design is always a winner) only put the nail in the coffin. The hardware on the inside wasn’t the best but it was the lack of basic features like video / audio recording and 3d games that made it look like a joke compared to the competition. Of course poor advertising didn’t help but IMO, it wasn’t as big a factor as people made it out to be.

          Maybe Samsung can revive WebOS but I’m very doubtful that is possible. It has been rejected way too many times for one to believe it still has a chance.

    2. if webos failed because it was sprint exclusive, it will also fail if it is HP exclusive or samsung exclusive.

      1. HP and Samsung are not carriers. I don’t see your point. WebOS will continue to fail at this point because it has no developer support rendering it virtually useless.

        1. And why doesn’t it have developer support? I remember the good old Palm days. There were tons of apps for PalmOS. It was the place to be for apps. I had a Sony Clie with palmos and that was great but PalmOS didn’t need those other OEM’s to be successful in those days.

          But when they moved to webos, they lost all those apps such as handyshopper and Pimlical.

      2. Yes, because the iPhone failed because it was AT&T (but not any more) exclusive and Apple exclusive, right?

  12. I just tried Bada 2.0 on Wave II and I really like it… More than Froyo…
    The design and interface are very nice, the apps are Ok but it needs more.
    For me is not between Android, Bada or iOS, is which one give you a better experience and interaction…

  13. Oh my.
    I honestly Do not want Google to buy WebOs or use Webos in any of it’s android related stuff.

    I’d love to see Samsung or even LG pick up the WebOs platform. WebOs is an excellent OS. I think the reason it failed was weak promotion and the hardware that it was running was downright pitiful. Pre and Pre+ and pre 2 were not anything noteworthy to show off the beauty of that OS. Pre 3 was a step in the right direction but that should have been released 2010 and not announced for release in 2011.

    With Samsungs’ Excellent Hardware, I would love to see something like this. I plan on leaving Android anyway when the New Mango devices come out for WP7 but if something was announced for Samsung and WebOS in the near future I’d seriously give it a serious look.

    1. I completely agree, though, I don’t think Samsung or LG should become WebOS only, but with their hardware they could definitely be licensees and put it on their devices.

      Honestly, that was the only thing I wished for WebOS, to be be put on decent hardware. If it was put on a phone with a solid build and mid-high end internal specs, people would buy the phone and thus attract developers and build out its install/app base.

  14. Has anyone ever thought that Samsung would just buy Palm for its patents

    1. Actually, thats the main reason I hope that Google buys them

  15. Don’t do it Samsung! That OS is cursed! LOL

  16. South Korean Deputy Commerce Minister ftl… Wouldn’t be surprised to see a replacement soon… FAIL

  17. As Elop the CEO of Nokia keeps repeating, the point is not the OS only, but the whole ecosystem that goes around it (email, music, books, video, market, games, email, cloud services, mapping / navigation services, etc, etc. …).

    Buying webOS won’t provide Samsung the whole ecosystem any platform today needs…

  18. Korean government officials need to lay off the soju. Drunk ideas seldom turn out to be fruitful when sober.

  19. webOS did not fail because it was on Sprint. It failed due to absolute crap hardware. The only thing good about the pre was the OS. The TP is a very nice piece and I am enjoying it. A decent hardware manufacturer is really all webOS needs. What apps it has are very good quality. If someone stepped up with good hardware and was willing to back the ecosystem for more than half a day (exaggeration I know) it could become a player.
    By the way I am what you would call an Android Fanboy.

  20. WebOS is a rejected platform. And once the public rejected it, it was as good as dead.It would be foolish of them to put any resources behind it. Bury it already. What Samsung needs to understand is that besides their great hardware, Android is the reason for their success.

  21. I really hope Samsung does indeed buy WebOS because it really is a good platform and it also means potentially good things for Android as well. Maybe if Samsung acquires WebOS, they’ll finally ditch TouchWiz and copy their own WebOS for their Android skin instead of the iPhone. I could see a lot of cross-platform integration coming between Android and WebOS if Samsung were to make this happen. Lets be honest, Samsung would be crazy to just stop making Android devices, but there’s no reason they can’t make WebOS devices too. Besides, they can use Android to ease people into WebOS. If their Samsung Android phones start borrowing the look and feel of WebOS phones and start sharing services, people are going to warm up to the idea of using a WebOS device. Plus, with the right integration, Samsung customers could own an Android phone and a WebOS tablet, or vice versa, and have complete service integration. At the very least, Samsung acquiring WebOS means continued competition. As we all should know, competition leads to innovation (unless you’re Apple, then it leads to lawsuits), which is good for everyone.

  22. here is a solution for samsung DO NOT DROP ANDROID why can they just combine the features of android with webos?

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