VentureBeat’s Devindra Hardawar reports not only that HP was trying to sell webOS for $1.2 billion (the same price HP paid to get all of Palm just last year), but that Facebook was one suitor they met with.
While Hardawar cites a source saying that this deal “was practically laughed out of the room”, I wouldn’t totally put the idea of webOS and Facebook to bed.
Back in August, when HP was in crazy mode, myself and others laid out reasons why a Facebook/webOS deal would make sense. It still does — but maybe even more so now that HP ultimately decided to open source the OS.
Most of the reports about the Facebook Phone have them forking a version of Android in a similar way to what Amazon did for the Kindle Fire. But imagine if Facebook forked webOS instead?
Given Facebook’s HTML5 ambitions, and webOS’ HTML base, this seems to make more sense than forking a Java development platform.
I also wouldn’t sleep on one or more OEM pushing for this. Sooner or later, one of Android’s big OEM partners is going to break away, likely when Google tries to exert more control on things like OS updates. Google can say what it wants about the Motorola deal, the second that happened, all the other OEMs started looking around at other options. Open source webOS is an attractive one. Open source webOS re-written to be FacebookOS is an extremely attractive one.