Apple beats HP, Google acquires Motorola and more.

Aug 19, 2011

Is Google the yin to Motorola's yang? Did HP retreat from Apple too early?

Hayley Tsukayama chatted about Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility, including what these companies, who make two fundamentally different type of products, might be planning.

Hayley also chatted about HP's decision to stop making the TouchPad and Pre webOS-based products, as well as trying to spin-off their PC business.

Related:
HP To Apple: You Win.
Bring On The Google Hardware Labs

Hello everyone -- lots of news in the tech world this week, with Google agreeing to acquire Motorola and HP completely revamping their business. I think this is a sign that companies, at least, are really buying into the idea of the post-PC era. Looking forward to hearing from you all.

Your article mentioned that while HP moved more units than Apple, they didn't come close to Apple's profits. It's really a shame that there is competition in the PC market. Otherwise HP could have hired a slick ad company and charged consumers far more than their product is worth.

It is amazing how Apple has somehow managed to push HP out of three markets -- tablets, smartphones and PCs -- despite the fact that HP's currently the biggest PC seller in the world. It's clear that HP knew they wouldn't ever catch up to the iPad, though. In their earnings call they said they, at most, aspired to be number 2

"Did HP retreat from Apple too early? " Doesn't matter--it's a done deal in business/life perception is EVERYTHING. Put a fork in HP-they're DONE.

I agree. Everything about yesterday's announcements was so rushed, defensive and strange. The TouchPad was clearly not selling well at all, but the reviews were pretty good and it was clear that people wanted to see where HP would take the idea.

Why do you think HP pulled the plug on the TouchPad? Those Russell Brand and Lea Michele commercials were so charming (*chuckle*) certainly customers would have come around eventually, right?

Oh, those commercials. 

You know, I think it's clear from HP's comments that they were just sick of paying for Palm without seeing returns.

It takes a great deal of business courage to act on what one sees, particularly when the ramifications of that sight are frightening. Credit Apotheker with that courage. His decision to abandon Palm and webOS was relatively easy in light of recent results; his plan to leave the PC market, while correct, was much more difficult, if only because of the scrutiny involved.
 
I'm impressed with Apotheker's strategic insights and management balls. He may just be the executive of the year. - Post user joachim1

He certainly was the only bit of encouragement or warmth on that earnings call yesterday. I was impressed that he was willing to say, "These are all my decisions." It's worth noting, too, that he comes from a software background -- something HP clearly knew -- so it's not a huge shock to see a shift in that direction

What does Google want with Motorola? What new products are they thinking up?

Oh, if only we knew! It's a strange situation, really, since Google's whole attitude to the deal has been that nothing will change about Android and MMI will be it's own company. While I think we'll probably see some more Google-Motorola products in the vein of the Xoom/Honeycomb, it will also be interesting to see how Google TV is affected by the hook-up with one of the largest set-top box manufacturers.

Is it really a surprise that HP flunked out of the tablet making industry?

No, I don't think it's a surprise, but I was a little thrown by their decision to kill it so quickly. Certainly the apps weren't there for the TouchPad -- the same problem RIM faces -- but the webOS was a solid system. It may still be, since HP is talking about possibly licensing it.

I've been trying to figure out this whole "post-PC" era thing, as it relates to real consumers and not tech geeks. Are you all using your PC's less than you used to in favor of cell phones and tablets?

Could one possible outcome of the purchase be that future versions of the "benchmark" Android phone, the Nexus, will be a Motorola device?

A) I love Google-rola, though I'm still deciding whether I like Motoroogle better.

B) To actually answer your question...I think so, yeah. Google's made it clear that it will keep its Nexus program exactly as it is now for the next device, and Android lead Andy Rubin said that won't change. On the other hand, the acquisition would mean Google's going to be bidding against itself for an exclusive Android phone.  I just don't see how a Nexus Droid wouldn't be a possible outcome of that situation.

The real question, I think is whether this partnership can help Google really take on the iPad. The Xoom doesn't give them the greatest track record.

In a post-TouchPad world, what great iPad alternatives are still left? So far there hasn't been a great alternative to Apple.

Of the tablets I've played around with, I like the Galaxy Tab 10.1 the best as an iPad competitor. Lots of people have also said they like the Asus Transformer, which hooks up with a keyboard.

It's a matter of preference, though. I actually own an HTC Flyer because I like the stylus (don't tease me!) and I like the smaller screen. Going Android means that you give up some stability and some security, though.

And, actually, the TouchPad wasn't bad, though it suffered from a serious lack of apps. The multi-tasking was really intuitive, so I hope HP actually does pursue licensing webOS, if only to give people more choice.

Google never seems to do that well with anything social or anything mobile devices.  Just not impressed.

Not a Google+ fan? No, I could see why you'd say that. They certainly still have the "Lab" feel to a lot of their products. That appeals to tech geeks, I think, because they like to be on the bleeding edge of innovation, but it's frustrating for when you just want things to work. That's Apple's secret formula, really. They're happy to wait on things until they know they can lock down a good user experience for people who don't want to bother with too much instability.

Though I will say that Ping has never appealed to me at all.

I know Apple is suing to prevent the Galaxy Tab from being sold in Europe because it infringes on their intellectual property...any chance they will do the same thing in the U.S.?

Hm. Well, I'm no IP expert, but my guess is that Apple and Samsung will strike a deal of some kind before it comes to that. A move like that wouldn't look  good for anyone.

If you had to choose a new VZW Android phone, would you go for the Thunderbolt, the Droid Bionic, Galaxy S II or the Nexus Prime? I know the last three phones aren't out yet, I'm just wondering if they would be worth the wait.

Tough question! I haven't gotten my hands on any of the unreleased phones yet. They're all really exciting smartphones, and the Galaxy S II has certainly done well overseas.  I think it will be worth the wait, though -- as I said -- I'm going to square with you and say that I haven't played around with them to give you a really good answer.

What about the webOS system was unique or useful in your opinion?

I really like the multitasking system. It had some of the silly flick gestures that you see on the PlayBook, but it did a really nice job of handling multiple tasks without lagging. Also, the privacy settings were more fine-tuned, though I suppose that's more a function of HP vs. Google than webOS vs. Android

I've heard the rumors are circulating that the new iPhone will be released at the beginning of October with preorders in September...any idea is they will be upping the capacity on the iPhone to, say, 64GBs?

Wouldn't that be nice? Apple's tight-lipped, so I don't know for sure. My instinct is no, especially since they're launching iCloud and will be encouraging people to put their stuff up in the cloud. We'll see, though!

I read that while many people have joined Google+, not many are using. I have Google+, but haven't had any motivation to post anything yet. While I like how easy it is to organize contacts, everything else is just like Facebook, and I don't see it enhancing my social network experience.

Yeah, I'm struggling with it myself. I like the idea, like you do, but I just don't have the energy to keep up with it and Facebook, and not enough of my friends have made the leap to quit FB altogether. Moving forward, I think I may make Google+ into the professional social media profile I don't get from Facebook because I've had it through college and grad school. I think of it as kind of a more open LinkedIn.

Why do you think Google paid such a premium price for Motorola? What about the company would give it its particular value? Patents? Products? Positioning in market?

I think it's definitely the patents. That was a major focus of the call about the deal, and Google is waaaay behind in protecting itself from IP lawsuits. That cache of patents -- and old ones --  was definitely a major factor of the deal.

Alright, folks. We're going to wrap this up, but if you have more questions, I'm happy to respond via e-mail. And I do want to hear about your post-PC thoughts, so head over to this post: http://wapo.st/qRjKPO and let me know what you think in the comments.

In This Chat
Hayley Tsukayama
Hayley Tsukayama writes for The Washington Post's "Faster Forward" and "Post Tech" blogs, covering consumer technology and technology policy. A Minnesota native, she joined the Post in 2010 after completing her master's degree in journalism. She lives in Washington D.C. where she sings alto with a local choir and plays video games in her copious free time.
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