Yesterday, HP's CEO Meg Whitman made the public announcement about the future of WP7's competitor webOS, and that announcement set the world into a downward spiral of emotional charges, cheerleading, Nostradamus-like predictions and opinionated blog posts (though the only ones you need to read are those at our sister-site PreCentral.net *ahem* WebOSNation.com). Still, we haven't tackled the issue that stands in front of us today as a result of this decision - how will an open sourced webOS affect Microsoft's rising efforts with WP7?
"Open sourcing is the middle road between killing webOS outright and selling it. In essence they’re giving it to the community that has cared about it and ensured that it continued to exist to this point. But how long webOS will continue to exist and be relevant after this point? That all depends on the almighty hardware."
As of right now, HP's decision to open source webOS has very little affect on WP7, if any at all. The affect that it could have is completely dependent upon the "almighty hardware"; hardware that has yet to be designed and built with OEM's that have yet to decide whether they want to use the platform. Also considering that it will still take time before webOS is actually open sourced (legal issues, you know), WP7 fans should have no worries about what could happen within the next year, or longer.
That said, webOS would be joining Google as one of two major open source operating systems (the term "major" meaning released worldwide to several million users). In some parallel Universe, and possibly this one, webOS will someday make it into all popular manufacturer's hands and dozens of smartphone handset models (which would turn into millions of users worldwide). But there is also the possibility that HP will just let webOS squander in the shadows before finally kicking the bucket without a single care from the world.
Bottom line is, we just don't know what will happen, and saying otherwise is only speculation. Of course, an open sourced webOS could bring some positive things to the WP ecosystem as well; we all know that friendly competition and technological innovation is good for everyone, no matter which side of the court they're playing on.
Read more about Open Source webOS at WebOSNation.com