The Macalope Daily: Facepalm

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What a week! First Google buys Motorola and now HP is spinning off its hardware business, killing the TouchPad, and possibly looking for a buyer for webOS. What’s next? Microsoft reveals Steve Ballmer is actually a woman? The Macalope’s not sure he can handle that.

Boy, it seems like just yesterday we were laughing at how badly the TouchPad was selling. Hey! It was just yesterday! (The Macalope loves that bit.) Apparently HP noticed that, too. And freaked the hell out.

This is great, though. Now we have an experiment group to match our control group. Because, when it comes to the mobile business, RIM is kinda like HP—just without any shred of self-awareness. While HP’s covering its face and crying “Uncle!”, RIM’s doubling down like a gambling addict. Now the company is apparently trying to build its own music service.

RIM, honey. Don’t.

This really is a study in contrasts, isn’t it? One company faces defeat and offers its complete and utter surrender. The other decides to continue down a destructive path that can only end in a dumpster at a rest stop outside Calgary, waking from an alcohol and drug-fueled binge, with a novelty store Mountie costume around its ankles.

Now the question on everyone’s mind is “what’s next for webOS, the little OS that couldn’t?” (Twice, for those keeping score at home: Once at Palm, once at HP.) Nicholas Carlson, Dan Frommer and MG Siegler think Facebook should buy webOS. The Macalope supposes it could work: Web operating system, Web-based social network. Personally, the horny one’s not real into Facebook because he has no desire to reconnect with people from grade school (kids can be so cruel when your antlers start coming in). But he would hate to see webOS simply die on the vine while there are other less deserving operating systems still on the market.

Still, as with Google, the Macalope doesn’t understand why these companies—whose core business is not operating system and hardware sales—think they have to make operating systems and hardware. It’s pretty questionable whether or not this has actually worked out for Google. As Horace Dediu notes on the latest episode of The Critical Path, Android is strictly a defensive move, and protecting your existing business model isn’t as interesting as building new businesses. You know what they say the best defense is.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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