LG acquires webOS from HP, plans to use it in smart TV platform

数奇な運命を辿りっぱなしの webOS に新たな買い手が現れました。LGの発表によると、同社は HP から webOS 関連資産を買い取ることで合意に達したとのこと。

LG は webOS を自社のスマートフォンやタブレットではなく、「次世代スマートテレビ」向けプラットフォームに活用するとしています。

webOSといえば、今は亡き Palm が2009年1月にスマートフォン向けOSとして発表した「モダンな」モバイルOS。 Palm Pre など数機種が販売されたのち、会社ごと買い取った HP がモバイル製品のみならず PC やプリンターにまで搭載する独自プラットフォーム化することを狙うも、独自タブレットHP TouchPad に採用しただけであっという間に方針変更・終息していました。HPは旧 Palm を新会社の GRAM に移行させ、webOS についてはオープンソース化した Open webOSを作り世話人になります、と宣言したのが2011年末。

今回の発表では、LG は HP から webOS のソースコード、関連ドキュメント、エンジニア、関連ウェブサイトなどを取得するとともに、HPの保有する知財権のうち、webOSにかかわる部分についてライセンスを受けるとしています。

またオープンソース版 Open webOS と、開発フレームワーク Enyo についても、LG が HP から管理役を引き継ぎます。LGは今回の webOS資産獲得にともない、米国シリコンバレーの Sunnyvale とサンフランシスコに新たなR&D拠点を設置することもあわせて明らかにしました。

webOS を採用したスマートテレビがどのような製品になるのかは触れられていませんが、発表文では LG Electronics のプレジデント兼 CTO Skott Ahn 氏が、「オープンで透明な webOS技術は説得力のあるユーザーエクスペリエンスをもたらします。またLG独自の技術とひとつになることで、最新のウェブ技術を用いた将来のイノベーションに道を開くでしょう」とコメントしています。

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LG Electronics Acquires webOS from HP to Enhance Smart TV

LG to License HP IP, Integrate webOS Technology into Next-Generation Devices

SEOUL, Korea, and PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 25, 2013 – LG Electronics Inc. has acquired the webOS operating system technology from HP, the companies announced today.

To support its next-generation Smart TV technology, LG has entered into a definitive agreement with HP to acquire the source code, associated documentation, engineering talent and related websites associated with webOS. As part of the transaction, LG also will receive licenses under HP's intellectual property (IP) for use with its webOS products, including patents acquired from Palm covering fundamental operating system and user interface technologies now in broad use across the industry.

Today's announcement paves the way for continued innovation on the webOS platform and on LG's roadmap of innovative solutions for many years to come, while allowing HP to focus its resources on strategic business opportunities such as cloud computing.

"This groundbreaking development demonstrates LG's commitment to investing in talent and research in Silicon Valley, one of the world's innovation hotbeds. It creates a new path for LG to offer an intuitive user experience and Internet services across a range of consumer electronics devices," said Skott Ahn, president and chief technology officer, LG Electronics Inc. "The open and transparent webOS technology offers a compelling user experience that, when combined with our own technology, will pave the way for future innovations using the latest Web technologies."

Ahn explained that LG Electronics' investment in webOS technology and its acquisition of the innovation team's R&D capabilities are expected to extend LG's leadership in bringing Internet services directly to consumer electronics devices. "Integrated with LG, this team will be the heart and soul of the new LG Silicon Valley Lab, focused on bringing innovative technology solutions to market through the most popular platforms for sharing and consuming content and experiences," he said. With the transaction, LG will add the Sunnyvale and San Francisco sites to its global R&D locations, in addition to its existing U.S. sites in San Jose and Chicago.

Also under the agreement:

· LG will assume stewardship of the open source projects of Open WebOS and Enyo.

· HP will retain ownership of all of Palm's cloud computing assets, including source code, talent, infrastructure and contracts.

· HP will continue to support Palm users.

"WebOS and its associated community deliver market leading platforms for the next generation of connected devices. We are constantly looking for opportunities to accelerate the delivery of this platform from the community," said Bill Veghte, HP's chief operating officer. "LG's track record of innovation and broad distribution provides this opportunity, while enabling HP to accelerate our Cloud efforts. In particular, with the cloud assets that will remain with HP, we will focus on delivering innovative solutions that will enable our enterprise customers to mobilize their workforce."

HP and LG do not expect this transaction to have a material impact on either company's financial statements. Terms were not disclosed.