Someone needs to tell HTC to let WebOS rest in piece

A good move for HTC will only make things harder for companies going mobile without going broke

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WebOS was a desperate bet from the beginning, and a losing one for HP, which seems to lack the capacity to stick with any long-term direct competition in operating systems.

In the '90s it was among the first major Unix vendors to fold or second-tier its Unix business in favor of Windows – a decision that proved to be correct, but five years too early.

The rest of the Unix market did fine for several years before watching their market share steadily dissolve as Windows metastasized into the kinds of data-center servers Unix ruled exclusively until then.

The smartphone OS market isn't nearly that clear-cut. Android makes up 46 percent of the worldwide market according to ABI research, HTC is the second-largest Android dealer with 23 percent of the Android market compared to Samsung's 24 percent.

HTC fights for its space

HTC is a lot feistier than HP, though.

It's been on a buying spree for the last year to expand its product set, capabilities and stock of patents with which to defend itself against an increasingly litigious Apple.

It has also crossed Google by unlocking its own phones to allow customers to modify their Android installs at a time when Google was trying to lock the OS down more tightly.

And, after Apple filed a patent lawsuit against Samsung for "slavishly" copying features of the iPad and iPhone in its Galaxy line of mobiles, HTC filed complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission claiming Apple's iOS and Mac devices infringed on Android patents.

Google transferred nine of those patents to HTC last week to make the fight more effective.

The patents started as intellectual property from Palm, Inc., Motorola and Openwave Systems before Google got ahold of them earlier this year.

Photo Credit: 

FocusTaiwain, Taiwanese state-owned news agency.

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