Hewlett-Packard's new woman in charge, Meg Whitman, told a French newspaper that it's no easy task deciding what to do with HP's webOS division, but that a decision would be made one way or the other within the next two weeks. Part of what makes the decision so difficult is that there's a team of 600 people working with webOS at HP.
As we told you earlier, HP is rumored to be preparing to sell off the corpse of webOS to the highest bidder. New in the rumor mill is that HP is preparing for a last-minute all-hands meeting tonight after the markets close. This sort of maneuver usually means bad news, and sources are saying that the company will finally detail what’s going to happen with webOS.
Remember that whole bit about Hewlett-Packard promising to support webOS and continuing to develop software around the platform? HP said it just wasn't interested in the hardware angle, hence the TouchPad's premature retirement from the tablet market, but had no intentions of abandoning the software. Well, about that. It now appears HP wants to wipe its hands of webOS completely if it can find a willing buyer.
We do our best to report the truth here at Maximum PC, but sometimes companies just don’t make it easy. First Microsoft tells us the Zune is dead, then alive, then dead. Then HP tells us WebOS is dead, then alive, but just between us, we still think its dead. We fully admit that on Friday we wrote a piece informing everyone that WebOS development at HP was not long for this world, along with dozens of other mainstream news outlets, however HP’s Vice President Todd Bradley has gone on the record to label this an “unfounded rumor”.
As an addendum to yesterday’s revelation that HP was staying in the PC business, it sounds like webOS is on its way to an early grave. We don’t mean that the HP is going to spin it off, or re-purpose the platform for something else, we mean kill it dead and shed 500 jobs in the process. The Guardian claims to have the inside story, and the decision has already been made.
HP seems to be rethinking its plans to get out of the consumer business with new CEO Meg Whitman at the helm. According to HP itself, it has been testing the Windows 8 developer release on the defunct HP TouchPad. This is just being done as a proof-of-concept right now, but there have even been talks of reviving the device as a Windows 8 slate.
“I’m not dead!” It’s one of our favorite quotes in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” We don’t picture TouchPad owners shouting that from the rooftops, though. HP basically called the tablet (along with WebOS) dead in the water and tossed it on the shelves at $99 to clear inventory; after a fire sale like that, you can’t expect much ongoing support. But surprise, surprise! TouchPad owners aren’t quite dead to HP yet. The company has just released a WebOS update for the tablet.
Amazon reportedly has Palm in its sights and is super close to pulling the trigger on a deal that could benefit both it and Hewlett Packard. Let's face it, HP screwed the pooch with its Palm acquisition with its 180 on webOS hardware, and even though the company claims it's committed to focusing on webOS software, that was never the sole intention. It's not surprising HP is shopping Palm, but will Amazon make a move?
It was only a matter of time before Hewlett Packard slashed staff as a result of dumping its webOS hardware business, and that time is now. Several hundred employees in HP's Palm division are on the chopping block, many of which will be dismissed of their duties starting this week.
HP was due to release a 7-inch tablet to go along with the now cancelled TouchPad. The smaller slate, codenamed Opal and later dubbed TouchPad Go, was reportedly just two weeks away from release when HP killed webOS. Well, a poster in a Chinese forum has posted images and details of the device, which he claims to have been using for three months.