ASPEN, Colo.--Hewlett-Packard was carefully watching Amazon.com's success with its Kindle e-reader, and that success played a role in HP's decision to acquire Palm and its webOS software platform for $1.2 billion in April 2010. "Kindle was a big driver for us to look at webOS," said Todd Bradley, executive vice president of the Personal Systems Group at Hewlett Packard, during a panel discussion at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference here.
From left: Frank Meehan, founder and CEO of INQ Mobile; Stephen Hoover, CEO of PARC, a Xerox company; George Colony, founder, chairman and CEO of Forrester Research; Todd Bradley, executive vice president of the Personal Systems Group at Hewlett Packard; and moderator Geoff Colvin of Fortune.
Bradley's comments about Amazon are particularly interesting since Amazon has recently been named as a potential partner for licensing the webOS software. Just last week, Jon Rubinstein, who had been heading up HP's webOS efforts but is now in charge of product innovation at HP's Personal Systems Group, touched on negotiations HP is holding over licensing webOS, and said Amazon.com might make a useful partner.
"I would say Amazon would certainly make a great partner, because they have a lot of characteristics that would help them expand the webOS ecosystem," he told the blog This is my next. "As to whether there's been discussions or not...that's obviously not something I'm going to comment about."
At the Fortune event, Bradley also said that he believes that tablets will be an "important supplement to what people already have," adding that these devices are intended for consuming data. HP launched its TouchPad webOS tablet earlier this month, but is positioning it as an enterprise-friendly device that will compete more heavily with Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) PlayBook than with Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad.
However, Forrester Research Founder, Chairman and CEO George Colony said he is much more bullish on the tablet market and believes it will be much more than a supplemental device. Colony noted that his company believes that one-third of the U.S. population will own a tablet by 2014.
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