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HP announces it's discontinuing all WebOS device development

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ArsTechnica just weighed in:

One of our favorite acronyms is ditching another one: Hewlett-Packard wants to spin off its personal computers division in a dramatic move. Whatever the means—spin-off, direct sale, or "other transaction"—HP is done with this low-profit market. Yes, that announcement comes from the current leader in worldwide PC sales. Speaking of the commodity PC business during today's earnings call, HP CEO Leo Apotheker said "continuing to execute in this market is no longer in the interest of HP and its shareholders."

And that's not all. The company is also buying British data analysis company Autonomy in a $10.2 billion blockbuster deal and effectively shutting down what's left of Palm. You'd think that the third-quarter report that's due after the closing bell would be enough excitement for one day, but HP didn't think so.

There's a common thread running through all of these changes, and it all starts at the top.


Apotheker is very much a software man. Coming in from decades of enterprise software experience at German powerhouse SAP, Leo was thrown into a world full of hardware at HP. From PCs and printers to UNIX servers—and even a finger in Intel's Itanium design—the Palo Alto giant must have looked alien to a man of Apotheker's pedigree.

HP's board of directors knew this when they hired him. If the steering committee wasn't okay with a radical shift into software and services, they would have hired somebody else.
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I played with it in the store several times and it was so slow it was ridiculous. Then the iPad was slow, too, for that matter. Still, I can't believe you bring the product out in the summer time, spend a zillion on ads and celebrity endorsements for it, and then kill it. Why bother making the thing in the first place if you didn't intend on even trying.

Did anyone *really* think HP buying Palm was going to work out? It seemed ridiculous at the time (to me at least), so I'm not surprised to see this happen. Sad? Maybe. But I can't help thinking, if Palm is so great, if WebOS is so great, why isn't it succeeding? Not to say it doesn't have some good ideas, but as a whole is it better than alternatives? Then again I think a lot of stupid things are being done in the mobile space right now (Nokia hitching their pony to Microsoft? Yeesh).

So much wasted time and money. I agree with Zaine - if you're going to just make a token effort, don't bother.

- Oshyan

The thing about it is it probably wasn't a token effort- just bad timing.  I think it was the earnings overall more than anything else that caused it, and to please the stockholders that they were taking action, they had to make a complete direction shift, no matter how much they were throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Honestly it didn't seem like a good fit from the beginning. But maybe that's just my opinion, heh.

- Oshyan


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