HP Chairman: We'll Make Money off WebOS

PALO ALTO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- HP ( HPQ) chairman Ray Lane is confident the company can make money from WebOS, despite the tech giant's decision to ditch hardware based on the mobile operating system.

During an interview with CNBC on Thursday, Lane confirmed that WebOS can still drive revenue for HP via licensing it out to third parties. "We're free now to have WebOS run on any device, just like Android does, and we plan to do that," he said.
HP chairman Ray Lane is confident that the company's WebOS software can make money.

HP has not yet divulged its long-term plans for the WebOS software IP; Todd Bradley, executive vice president of the firm's Personal Systems Group (PSG), recently said that the OS is still "strategically important" for HP.

Speculation, of course, is rife about the future of WebOS, and there has been chatter that the operating system could end up in the hands of Qualcomm ( QCOM) or handset maker ZTE.

The No. 1 PC maker ingested WebOS after its $1.2 billion buy of Palm in 2010. Regarded as a potentially strong competitor in the mobile device space thanks to its sophisticated capabilities including multitasking and video playback, WebOS was the jewel in Palm's crown.

HP recently held a fire sale to get rid of its WebOS-powered TouchPad tablets, and it quickly sold out as customers snapped them up at a steeply discounted price. Earlier this week, however, the company confirmed that it will make one more line of TouchPads in order to meet last-minute demand for the discounted product.

During his CNBC interview, Lane also discussed HP's controversial plan to spin off its PC business.

"It's a commodity business now, and we think it will be better as a separate company," he said. As a separate entity, the PC business will operate at the speed of competitors, not at the speed of HP, he said.

HP shares closed down 36 cents, or 1.38%. at $25.67 on Thursday.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers.

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