Now that he's exited HP, former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein has opened up a bit about his thoughts on how and why webOS failed. In an interview with Fierce Wireless, Rubinstein said that if he had it to do over again, he wouldn't have sold to HP, "Talk about a waste. ... If we had known they were just going to shut it down and never really give it a chance to flourish, what would have been the point of selling the company?"
"There's a long list of stuff we did that has been adopted by Microsoft, Apple and Android."
We've already covered the saga of webOS's rise and fall, and Rubinstein's interview confirms a few pertinent details. From the start, Palm was behind the eight ball thanks to Verizon's decision to back out of carrying the Pre, and Rubinstein implies that Sprint was essentially the only option he had, "We almost had deals with Verizon and with Vodafone, and in the last minute both of those guys decided not to go through with the deal, so we had a deal with Sprint."
Rubinstein pointed out that many technologies that originally debuted on webOS have made their way to other platforms — including iOS 7. He cited multitasking, notifications, Synergy, and even over-the-air OS updates as ideas that other platforms have adopted. Rubinstein also pointed out that Palm tried to fight carriers on their requests to install extra software (a fight Palm sometimes lost).
Currently, Rubinstein is sitting on both the Amazon and Qualcomm boards, and he says that isn't a coincidence. "I'm a big believer in mobile and integration of the home, and wearable computing and all that stuff, and having it all tied up in the cloud," Rubinstein told Fierce Wireless, without saying exactly which of those technologies maps to which company.
WebOS, meanwhile, is nearly dead. HP gave it a small stay of execution with a patch to keep its online services running and sold much of Palm to LG, which has yet to reveal exactly how it will implement webOS on televisions. We're still expecting LG to unveil something in 2014.