Could Facebook Buy WebOS?

10:25 AM Jefferies analysts suggest that Facebook could be a potential acquirer of the ill-fated mobile OS

Dan Jones, Mobile Editor

September 15, 2011

1 Min Read
Could Facebook Buy WebOS?

10:25 AM -- Could Facebook buy HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ)'s WebOS?

That's the suggestion being put forward in a research note from Jefferies & Company Inc. Thursday morning. The analysts write that Facebook could be the "best fit" as "many of the natural potential buyers for WebOS" seem happy with dual-sourcing a mobile operating system from Android and Windows or developing their own:

  • Due to Facebook's scale, developer community, and movement toward media (e.g., music) and communications (Messenger), it is possible that an acquisition of an OS asset like this could be a good option. Checks with developers indicate that they would support a potential Facebook OS, and industry sources have noted Facebook's historic interest in a mobile OS or heavily influencing one.

As Jefferies notes, the only major handset vendor that has expressed interest in WebOS is High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498), which doesn't seem to be in any hurry to buy. (See HP Brings TouchPad Back From the Dead and OS Watch: Samsung Disses webOS.)

There are a couple of hang-ups in Facebook making a WebOS buy. "An acquirer of WebOS might also need to acquire mobile patents as WebOS' were already sold," the report states.

The other sticking point that I can see is that Facebook isn't in the hardware business at all right now. This likely means it would have to work with HTC, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) and others to get the devices out the door, when many vendors already have a big interest in Android and -- to a lesser extent -- Windows.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Dan Jones

Mobile Editor

Dan is to hats what Will.I.Am is to ridiculous eyewear. Fedora, trilby, tam-o-shanter -- all have graced the Jones pate during his career as the go-to purveyor of mobile essentials.

But hey, Dan is so much more than 4G maps and state-of-the-art headgear. Before joining the Light Reading team in 2002 he was an award-winning cult hit on Broadway (with four 'Toni' awards, two 'Emma' gongs and a 'Brian' to his name) with his one-man show, "Dan Sings the Show Tunes."

His perfectly crafted blogs, falling under the "Jonestown" banner, have been compared to the works of Chekhov. But only by Dan.

He lives in Brooklyn with cats.

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