Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Hewlett-Packard Snubs Google to Become the Next Apple

By Rick Munarriz - Updated Apr 6, 2017 at 12:41PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

HP continues to walk in Apple's footsteps. 

Now that its purchase of Palm is complete, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) is getting cocky about its proprietary webOS platform.

All Things Digital is reporting that HP's new tablet -- the one powered by Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android and set to hit the market later this year -- has been delayed. It won't come out until next year, if it even comes out at all.

Here we go again, HP.

You may remember the HP Slate. Steve Ballmer was brandishing a prototype back in January, gushing about the pairing of HP's touchscreen tablet with Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows 7 operating system as a springboard.

Well, that device was given a springtime axing. Instead, HP would concentrate on an Android-flavored tablet.

It seemed like a prudent move at the time. Android is open source, so it's a lot cheaper than licensing Microsoft's operating system. Android is also giving Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iOS a good run for the money in the smartphone market, with more Android handsets sold in this country during the first quarter than iPhone devices. Why not take on the iOS iPads with Android tablets?

Nope. It's time for Plan C at HP. It's likely the printing and computing giant will now concentrate on making its Palm webOS tablet operating system. If successful, this could be huge for HP. Instead of cranking out Android tablets like everybody else could, it would take a page out of Apple's playbook as the lone source for webOS tablets.

It's a blueprint that looks good on paper, but is crummy in application.

For starters, the clock continues to tick.

With Apple on pace to sell more than a million iPads every month, every day that a rival tablet isn't on the market results in a growing gap of tens of thousands of iPads sold that day. It's hard to fathom someone taking on Apple, especially if they miss the 2010 holiday season.

The second drawback to HP's strategy is that Android sells. With my apologies to Palm Pre and Pixi owners, history shows that webOS does not. HP's mighty marketing muscle will certainly improve its chances. It's also easy to understand that HP would rather give it a go with its own webOS than strengthen the position of a rival with Android support. However, at the end of the day, consumers will crave Android and Windows 7 tabletry if they want a proven alternative to Apple's iPad.

If HP focuses too narrowly on webOS, it would let Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) and Asian rivals flood the market with Android tablets, laptops, and desktops while it champions a niche platform in obscurity.

Yes, Apple was once in a similar position. But even it realized the need to reach the masses by making sure that iTunes also ran on Windows as a way to turn the iPod into a mainstream hit that triggered the company's renaissance.

P.S.: You're no Apple, HP.

Is HP really trying to be Apple Lite? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation, Google is a Rule Breakers pick, and Apple is a Stock Advisor choice. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is starting to see more smartphone products creep into his home, but he does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

HP Inc. Stock Quote
HP Inc.
HPQ
$34.40 (0.25%) $0.09
Microsoft Corporation Stock Quote
Microsoft Corporation
MSFT
$289.29 (-0.70%) $-2.03
Alphabet Inc. Stock Quote
Alphabet Inc.
GOOGL
$118.80 (-0.63%) $0.75
Apple Inc. Stock Quote
Apple Inc.
AAPL
$173.33 (-0.70%) $-1.22
Dell Technologies Inc. Stock Quote
Dell Technologies Inc.
DELL.DL

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
395%
 
S&P 500 Returns
128%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/18/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.