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LG to buy HP’s inherited webOS

Defunct PalmOS successor to get new home in smart TVs

LG became interested in the platform when collaborating with HP on its development.
LG became interested in the platform when collaborating with HP on its development.

Hewlett-Packard announced yesterday that it will sell its inherited webOS platform to South Korea's LG Electronics Inc, which will use the software to power its line of smart TVs, Reuters reported.

The Linux-based webOS was initially developed by Palm to replace PalmOS. Launched in early 2009, it powered the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi smartphones. HP acquired Palm in 2010 for $1.2bn and, according to Reuters, LG became interested in the webOS platform after working with HP on its development.

"As a result of this collaboration, LG offered to acquire the webOS operating system technology," said HP chief operating officer Bill Veghte.

According to Veghte, while the terms of the agreement will transfer source code, documentation, licences and talent to LG, HP will retain patent rights to the cloud infrastructure of webOS.

"As we looked at it, we saw a very compelling IP that was very unique in the marketplace," he said.

HP tried using webOS as the engine of its now-discontinued TouchPad in 2010, which was meant to compete with Apple Inc's iPad. LG's president and CTO, Skott Ahn said the platform would be used first in smart TVs and subsequently in other devices. However, a dearth in applications written for webOS would need to be addressed before the system would be viable for a major tablet or smartphone release.

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