One of the things that has appealed to many owners of Android OS devices is that Google’s Android is an open-source platform. However news today suggests the possibility that Android could no longer be open-source in the future following the Google acquisition of Motorola, at least that seems to be the opinion of Hewlett Packard’s CEO.
We’re pretty sure that Google would dispute this but Hewlett Packard’s CEO Meg Whitman was recently speaking at the HP Global Partner conference in Las Vegas and said that Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility could mean that Android becomes closed-source, therefore bringing webOS more into play as an open-source platform. It could be of course that Whitman has thrown this possibility into the ring to focus more attention on webOS but nevertheless there are many people who would be alarmed at Android becoming a closed-source platform.
It was Palm that developed webOS and after HP bought Palm in 2010 the company announced that it would not be making products using that operating system. However rather than meaning a total wipeout of webOS, HP announced that webOS would be released to the open-source community, as reported here. Whitman has now made it clear that HP will carry on contributing to webOS development and said that HP will continue to be patient while webOS increasingly makes an impact. She foresees that this could take up to four years but if Android does become closed-source then this would mean that webOS could become a significant open-source mobile OS. Whitman also pointed to the fact that Apple’s iOS was proprietary and thus created an opportunity for an open-source webOS to grow.
We should point out that Google has already declared its intentions that Android will remain open-source so quite why Whitman seems to feel otherwise is questionable. The deal for Google to purchase Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion has now been approved by both U.S. and European regulators but there has been no news that this will affect the Android platform.
At the same conference Whitman said that HP would be offering new software for Android and iOS remote management but not yet for webOS. We can’t imagine that most industry experts would agree with Whitman’s take on Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, though of course the possibility may have been raised by observers. You can read more in-depth information about webOS development and how HP sees its future in this article.
Frankly we think that the Android platform becoming close-source is highly unlikely but would like to hear your views on this. Can you imagine a closed-source Android? Do you think that Google would ever allow that to happen? Maybe you think this is just wishful thinking on Whitman’s part? Let us know with your comments.
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