HP folds. What’s next?

The great Smartphone high-stakes poker continues.
HP folds with WebOS devices killed.
Google goes all in with Moto purchase.
Nokia’s bluff is called. Symbian is no-more.
HTC bluffs with an all-out patent challenge.
Apple still seem to be holding a royal flush.
How did we get here?
It all started with the iPhone launch in 2007. I doubt even Apple or Steve Jobs could have imagined the forces they were unleashing on the mobile device segment. Back in 2007, when Android needed a reference architecture they copied Blackberry (see the first SDK releases) but by 2009 most Android devices looked like an iPhone.
As they say: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
This quote is mostly used by the underdogs and Apple by no means is an underdog, but we actually have Steve Ballmer on the record making fun of the iPhone. Here is what he said: “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item.”

There is no denying that mobility is the biggest trend of our times. It may even be bigger than the transition to web in the late nineties. I still remember the day in 1997 when I saw the first web address on a billboard in Bombay and said to myself, this internet thing is for real. And then AOL bought Time Warner. Rationale of the transaction aside, it was a watershed moment, signaling the transition to the new. Google’s Moto deal has the same vibe.
The transition to mobility could not have come sooner. I have been hearing every single year since 2000 that the next year will be the year of mobile. It was just like Linux on desktop, every single year was supposed to be the year of Linux on desktop. But Y2007 release of the iPhone, proliferation of 3G networks and innovative post Web 2.0 cloud services have finally delivered.
Where do we go from here?
Predictions is a difficult game. But since we live in Smartphone times, which seem be even faster than the Internet time, all bets are off and let’s have some fun:
- MSFT outright acquires Nokia
- All the patent fights lead to some sort of patent reforms
- Apple accumulates a 100 billion dollars in bank (ok, this needs no prediction)
- May be Apple, Google or Microsoft will acquire a US carrier
The funny thing is that Apple, in fact, announced this transition to the world four years ago the day they dropped “computer” from their name. All we had to do was pay attention.

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