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Smartphone War: HP Takes on Apple, Google
CNBC.com | July 23, 2010 | 08:50 AM EDT

In its bid to take on Apple and Google in smartphones, Hewlett-Packard won't use Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 software.

Instead, HP Executive Vice President Todd Bradley told me that the PC giant will exclusively use its webOS software, which it got when it closed its Palm acquisition three weeks ago. Not that Microsoft is completely striking out with HP—Bradley also said definitively for the first time that HP will build a tablet computer based on Microsoft's Windows 7.

Bradley's comments are some of the clearest signals HP has given about its plans for the high-growth smartphone market. When I first got the call from HP a couple of months ago about its plans to acquire Palm, Chief Strategy Officer Shane Robison made a point of reminding me that HP is Microsoft's biggest customer, and that HP would continue to have a good relationship with Redmond. In his early comments about webOS, HP CEO Mark Hurd talked more about using it in printers than phones.

But it seems that HP is betting the farm on webOS in phones after all. In my conversations with HP executives, they sound determined to use HP's heft to make Palm into a top-tier smartphone platform on par with Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

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