HP Shuts Down webOS Devices, Looking to Pull an IBM

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ADOTAS – It’s looking more and more like a two-system party as another mobile operating platform appears to be headed  to the graveyard. About six weeks after launching its TouchPad tablet, Hewlett-Packard has decided to cease making hardware for webOS, the mobile operating platform it inherited through acquiring Palm. I bet Time Inc. is feeling kinda silly for signing up as the exclusive magazine publishing partner for the TouchPad.

Pretty much, HP is giving up on both its tablet computer and its mobile phone business. Apparently Best Buy is yelling at HP to buy back 200,000 unsold units, as it sold only 10% of its inventory even after a $100 price cut last week.

According to a statement from the company, ““HP will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. The devices have not met internal milestones and financial targets. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

So is this a concession that the Palm acquisition has been a failure? Kind of crazy this announcement comes on the heels of Google’s attempt to buy Motorola.

Even more interesting, HP announced in a press release that the “board of directors has authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group” — aka, the personal computing division. One of these alternatives is a spin-off of the company, which may seem ridiculous considering that HP is the number one PC-maker in the world.

Or at least it was — Apple sold 13.6 million personal/portable computing units (including Macs, Macbooks and iPads) in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the 9.7 million PCs sold by HP over the same time period. Dell also reported a 10% drop in PC shipments during the last quarter. Tough economic times may be to blame, but it’s no secret that tablets (particularly the iPad) are seriously cutting into laptop and desktop sales.

HP wasn’t done with announcements, as it also admitted to making an offer for Autonomy, which offers cloud-based solutions for data management, regulatory compliance and marketing on an enterprise level. So it looks like HP may be trying to pull an IBM, which sold its laptop biz to Lenovo to focus on cloud-based enterprise solutions. It’s worked out pretty well for the computing veteran.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Ha, yes, would seem Time got a bit ahead of itself in its feverish fury to lung into digital magazine publishing. Can’t say this is really a shocking development, and no doubt Steve Jobs is smirking somewhere, but Android would seem to be the true challenger to iOS anyway — so I wouldn’t exactly call this a major score for Apple. Interesting, though, to watch an industry in its infancy go through the throes of innovation and market positioning. RIP webOS.

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