HP to end webOS development, spin off computer business and focus on software/services

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Date: Friday, August 19th, 2011, 03:13
Category: News

Even the mightiest can fall.

Or be forced to radically restructure.

According to Bloomberg, Hewlett Packard, the world’s largest PC maker, has announced plans to spin off its PC business and scrap its recently acquired webOS smartphone and TouchPad tablet business to focus on software and services.

Per the report, HP “has been aiming to lessen its dependence on lower-margin PCs, where growth has stalled as consumers flock to tablet-style computers like those made by Apple.”

Recent reports have documented HP’s slide, along with most other top PC makers, in shipments of new computers as Apple continues to grow its sales of Macs and particularly iPads.

Apple was the only maker in the top 5 PC vendors of Western Europe to experience growth in computer shipments, and the company just surpassed HP in mobile PC sales, largely due to booming sales of iPads.

HP has been unable to gain traction for its own iPad alternative, despite a campaign launched last year to buy Palm for US$1.2 billion and use its webOS to power a new generation of mobile devices.

HP is scheduled to announce quarterly earnings after the market closes today, and is expected to detail its US$10 billion plan to acquire Autonomy Corporation, the second largest UK software maker, headquartered in Cambridge, as it spins off its PC hardware unit.

Autonomy develops enterprise search and data processing technologies that look for meaning in text, voice and video data, whether in a database, files or streams. Much of its technology has origins in research conducted at the University of Cambridge.

Following a series of mergers and acquisitions, HP represents a combination of Apollo, DEC, Compaq, 3Com and Palm, but is now valued at just US$62 billion, compared to Apple’s current market cap of US$338 billion.

Apple acquired HP’s vacated “Executive Briefing Center” Pruneridge campus in Cupertino, California, and has plans to develop the site, along with adjacent land it already owned, into a futuristic new “Apple Campus 2” site, located one freeway exit away from its current Infinite Loop headquarters.

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One Response to “HP to end webOS development, spin off computer business and focus on software/services”

  1. In my family we have both the iPhone and Palm webOS… I prefer the webOS.

    From the very beginning I knew the HP buyout was not going to good… I wrote about it and discussed it, so this is not one of those “Monday Morning Quarterback” comments. I knew it was wrong.

    The course HP should of went was to keep the phone division under the brand of PALM and spin the Touchpad under the HP brand. With the webOS being the central tie in, think “cross-pollination”. From a consumer stand point it would of made sense… consumers are vain in some way or another. PALM had a bit of cool to it and a loyal base. I for one did not want to be associated with a corporate company such as HP. HP lacked style and the “cool-vibe” that Apple and Android carry about themselves… Call it hip. Really, who of us wants a HP logo’d product that bespeaks corporate blah?

    There will be those who say “if it works and it does what I want then I do not care what brand or how it looks”, OK then back to your corporate world you bunch of tools. But for the mass consumer base that can make or break a companies existence, this fact has to be factored in. HP does not know how to connect to that type of consumer. Yesterdays announcement is cold water in the face, HP realizes they are not consumer-cool!

    NOW, what I feel is the next big thing is a TAB/PAD that is focused on the designer/artist… think Wacom tablet. I have been talking about this with my colleagues… Wacom needs to partner up and developed a Cintiq style device! Enter licensing the webOS to power their own tablet!

    Yeah the battery life will suck but have a add on accessory such as a extra battery that compliments the existing one but piggybacks onto the back of the device… clips on to the back for extra power for those who need to work whilst in transit.I’ll still buy a Touchpad when they go ultra cheap and I will buy a Pre 3 if they make it into the wild. Foolish? NO, because my current Pre does everything I ask of it and my Macbook Pro 17″ compliments my other needs. A Touchpad would be great in the car for traveling and the occasional car-camping. It runs FLASH and handles HTML 5, so it has a long life ahead!