In addition, HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.
The worst part of this news is that some will read it as proof that trying to compete with Apple with an integrated hardware/software solution is the wrong approach.
It’s not the wrong approach. It’s just an approach that needs time and lots of losing quarters to work. The product needs to evolve, the platform needs to grow slowly over time. And a company like HP doesn’t have the patience for that.
I would feel bad about this, as I was a Palm customer for years, and I still feel some sort of strange kinship with the old company and with Jon Rubenstein, who I met once. I was rooting for WebOS, as a lot of other Apple fans were. But it wasn’t to be.
At the end of the day, I had never spent a dime of my own money on any WebOS product. So what right do I have to feel bad when the platform doesn’t survive?
And don’t think this is a failure of the integrated solution. The old Microsoft model of licensing doesn’t work, either. Android and Windows Phone are proving that. (Yes, Android is falling apart. Keep watching Google’s behavior over the next few months. They had one good year in 2010, and this year has all been downhill. And they know they need a change to salvage the thing.)
The bottom line is that no one has figured out how to beat Apple at this. And it doesn’t look like anyone will anytime soon.
You hear people say all the time that they want Apple to have strong competitors, because it’s good for Apple to have competitors to keep it on its toes. But that’s never really been true, has it? Apple generally just doesn’t pay attention to its competitors. Sure, they steal an idea or two from time to time, but does anyone think that notification center NEVER would have happened without Android?
And competition just for its own sake is useless. What Apple needs is WORTHY opponents, and it doesn’t have any.