HP purchased streaming music service Melodeo today for $30M. Big whoop you might say, but if you look at this purchase in the context of other recent purchases including Palm earlier this year, it shows a clear pattern. HP wants to be a playah in the mobile market and they want it bad.
Mark Hurd's Comments Not Withstanding
A few weeks ago, Mark Hurd shocked a few people when he told an audience he hadn't purchased Palm to get into the mobile phone market. The reaction on Twitter was fast and palpable, the equivalent of "Say what?! Why exactly did you buy the mobile phone company if you didn't want to sell phones?"
Hurd didn't answer, but neither did his statement imply his company had anything less than a laser focus on the mobile market in general, only that perhaps he wants to take the spotlight away from phones and place it on portable devices like tablets, a little further up the food chain.
Mobile OS Packages
Apple was the first to market with the phone/OS/app store model and has done extraordinarily well. Many others have followed trying to reproduce this success. Only Google Android seems to have come close and it is still very much a work in progress. Now we have HP as the latest wannabe and it's hard to dismiss them out of hand, not with the HP resources, the brand and its market reach.
HP has a brisk consumer business selling PCs, but they aren't stupid. They see the market is rapidly shifting to the mobile space and you can't blame them for wanting a piece of the action, but can they produce something to compete with Apple, Google or even Microsoft?
Show Me What You Got?
HP has a strong brand and now they have purchased some additional pieces to take that brand recognition and apply it to mobile devices. I expect they will focus on tablets, and they could do well there, but it remains to be seen how much traction webOS (purchased from Palm) will give them, or if they would have been better off hitching their wagon to Windows 7 as had been the original plan?
For now, with today's news as a backdrop, it's clear that HP has a defined, independent mobile strategy and they are trying to put all the pieces in place to make it successful. I'm not convinced HP can get past Apple or Google here, but they could do well enough to hang around and find their own lucrative niche in the mobile market.