Towards the end of HP's two-hour press conference revealing the upcoming webOS-based tablet (TouchPad) and smartphones (Veer, Pre3), the company also revealed that webOS will appear on desktops and laptops towards the end of the year.
For webOS developers, this is a potential market of about 100 million devices per year. That's more than Android, iOS or any other mobile platform today. Yet, what does this mean for HP's relationship with Microsoft? After all, the Redmond-based company currently commands more than 90-percent of the personal computer market with the Windows operating system. HP is also Microsoft’s biggest Windows reseller.
That said, offering desktops and laptops with an internally-developed (acquired) OS would seemingly disrupt the HP-Microsoft relationship. However for now, it seems, that's not the case.
After the HP event, a spokesperson told Business Insider that webOS will not be a Windows replacement. In fact, it will likely ship as a customized user interface running on top of Microsoft Windows (7), similar to HP's TouchSmart Software. Ultimately this should keep webOS developers happy and Microsoft's cash flow uninterrupted.
But as Business Insider points out, webOS on the PC only spells bad news for Microsoft in the long run. Once upon a time Microsoft seemingly ruled the personal computer sector with the only native operating system in town: Windows. Now manufacturers have other options including Ubuntu and Chrome OS. It's assumed that eventually HP will flesh out the PC version of webOS as a full-fledged operating system for HP-manufactured desktops and laptops.
Wednesday HP said that more will be revealed about the PC version of webOS throughout 2011.