HP will licence WebOS

The maker of expensive printer ink, HP has said that it will license its new WebOS operating system, but only to its very bestest of buddies.

Jon Rubinstein, who runs the Palm unit at HP said that he was more than willing to partner with one or two special companies, but was not interested in being in the licensing business.

Speaking at the webcasted Qualcomm conference,  Rubinstein said thatin his mind “someone special” would be an outfit would be one that brings value to WebOS and does not “cheat” with other operating systems.

It would not be an outfit that already makes phones using different operating systems, but rather one which  focuses on contributing and building the WebOS ecosystem, he said.

Palm licensed its software, but with the launch of the new WebOS software, the outfit initially did not.

The result was that sales of WebOS products were minimal and Rubinstein, changed his mind and said he was open to licensing.

Rubinstein thinks the OS has an edge over competitors because it can run on phones, tablets and PCs and people will be able to connect those devices.

HP’s TouchPad, which runs WebOS, hits the shops this month. Users will be able to connect a Palm phone to the pad, and the phone will automatically display the Web page that’s on the screen of the tablet.

Rubinstein said that WebOS will never replace Windows but will run on top of it, he said. That will let users keep the traditional Windows experience but get “enhanced capabilities” by adding WebOS on top of it.