Businessweek  is hypothesizing that HP [NYSE:HPQ] might be ready to ditch Microsoft's [NASDAQ:MSFT] Windows and develop its own operating system.
According to the magazine, HP is a little disappointed with many of the unpopular features in Vista, and sees itself competing more directly with Apple [NASDAQ:AAPL] than with other big-box PC makers. While the home-made OS rumor isn't solid yet, it has at least been confirmed by HP reps that the company is trying very hard to develop software that can tweat and modify Vista to make it usable. The second operation -- the proprietary OS -- is said to be a back-room, "skunkworks" operation based on a Linux platform.
While developing an operating system is no small endeavor, HP stands to gain a lot from doing that in-house: it would cut costs greatly over licensing Windows, and would untie HP's fate from that of Microsoft. Whether or not the company has the gall to ditch its longtime partner remains to be seen, but if anyone would do this, it'd be HP. Or Asus, [TPE:23570] which can't seen to stop itself from making everything.