Last week Hewlett-Packard announced it will be brining WebOS to PCs. In an interivew with the Seattle Times, HP CTO of Personal Systems Phil McKinney says that HP isn't ditching Windows, but will integrate WebOS with Windows. "It will be a combination of taking the existing operating systems and bringing WebOS onto those platforms and making it universal across all of our footprint," McKinney said. "It's not virtualization. It's an integrated WebOS experience we're looking to bring."

On the subject of WebOS in the enterprise McKinnley said:

The key is what we see as the consumerization of IT. Look at how many technologies going into the enterprise are really decided by the consumer. I go out and buy a consumer phone, bring it into the workplace and say, 'I want my e-mail on this consumer phone,' right? I buy a pad, I bring a pad in.

What you're seeing is this collapse -- this lack of differentiation -- that's going to happen between what is a consumer technology and what is an enterprise technology. What the enterprises really want is manageability, security. There's an entire WebOS roadmap to build in all of the security models so not only is it a great consumer device. But it will be the best and most friendly enterprise device that allows the enterprises to manage it, control it, secure the piece of information that's important to the enterprise, but all in one device experience.

Bob Warfield likens this to New Wave, a graphical desktop environment introduced by HP in 1989.

It's probably a little too early to draw comparisons between WebOS and New Wave, without seeing exactly how WebOS will integrate with Windows. But Warfield isn't optimistic. "The little things it adds that have been demoed so far are all obvious things Microsoft should be building into Windows and in fact will have to build if they want to make their Nokia partnership perform as it should," Warfield writes.

What sorts of things? Warfield elaborates in another post. He thinks Nokia and Microsoft need to focus on doing a better job at serving Windows users than Android and iOS. "HP is showing some fascinating new developments," he writes. "For example, the ability to see your phone's instant messages on your PC without having to go get the phone in the next room. That's the kind of stuff Nokia-Microsoft should be doing for Windows."

Warfield sees HP basically in competition with Nokia/Microsoft for third place after Android and iOS. I would add RIM to the competition for that spot as well. Which means the enterprise security angle McKinney mentioned will be important in this power struggle.

Warfield thinks HP is giving Microsoft a big advantage here, just as the company did when it introduced New Wave. "It introduced some cool stuff that Redmond promptly scooped up and marginalized through various releases of their own," he writes. "Their [Microsoft's] engine is not particularly innovative, but if someone else can show them what to do that's in a format not too far removed from what they're familiar with they will grind that stuff out like nobody else."

What do you think? Is HP just helping Microsoft build a better version of Windows?