HP to Decide Fate of webOS

by Matt Klassen on December 1, 2011

It was back in August that HP announced it was making sweeping changes to its business structure and product development focus. The company floated the notion of spinning off its PC business to generate revenue and discontinued its mobile product line, spelling the untimely end for the fledgling HP Touchpad.

The rough waters of uncertainty continued to rock the HP ship as the company endured a leadership change, and despite rumours that even under the new regime the company’s mobile operating system too would be scuttled— costing hundreds of people their jobs—the company—the company has remained tight-lipped about the ultimate fate for its recently acquired webOS.

But the good news is that at least the tech world, and more importantly those whose livelihoods are in limbo, won’t have to wait long for the decision to come down, as new HP CEO Meg Whitman has stated that an official decision will be announced in the next two weeks. If you ask me, however, things are not looking good for webOS…

Whitman, for her part, was careful not to tip her hand in regards to which way her company is leaning when it comes to webOS, and while many have written off webOS has dead—yet again—perhaps the funeral dirge is premature. Following the story that HP was looking to scuttle its webOS, Whitman assured the staff working on the OS that no concrete decision had yet been made, as the company wanted to carefully weigh its options and make the “right decision” in this matter.

Furthermore, during a recent interview Whitman also admitted that her company needs a mobile operating system, and while some are taking that to mean that webOS may still have some life yet, I’m not so optimistic.

In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say I wouldn’t at all be surprised if in two weeks the announcement is that HP has decided to partner with its longtime PC OS supplier Microsoft to utilize the latter’s Windows Phone OS on all of HP’s mobile devices. While there are of course other OS options, its doubtful HP would want to meddle with open source Android and of course Apple’s popular iOS remains unavailable.

While nothing more than pure speculation, HP has had nothing but headaches since its acquired webOS from Palm, and although it remains a popular mobile OS with technophiles the world over, webOS has never really appealed to consumers, as evidenced by the spectacular failure of HP’s Touchpad tablet.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has signed some strategic distribution agreements of late, most notably with Nokia, which indicate to me that Microsoft is actively growing its mobile OS brand. For HP, instead of trying to further fragment the mobile OS market by giving webOS another go, why not back the company that has long supplied you with PC semi-reliable PC operating systems?

So consider this the official beginning of the wildfire of speculation that will likely burn through the blogosphere  for the next two weeks until HP finally decides the fate of webOS.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gaurav Kheterpal December 1, 2011 at 6:36 am

I, for one, hope that HP sells it. I don’t really care who buys it because webOS surely deserves to be in better hands than HP. I feel sorry for the HP Developer Community that has stuck around despite the uncertainty over the last six months. webOS is too beautiful an operating system to die prematurely.

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