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HP announces it will discontinue webOS development

After much recent speculation on the future of HP’s webOS, the company announced today that it would discontinue the operating system and TouchPad. The announcement came in a press release concerning discussions with Autonomy Corporation and a possible acquisition.

HP said it would “continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

Yikes. Details are not confirmed, but that’s pretty vague. The safe bet doesn’t seem to be on much, or very good, support for the product in the future. What was once billed as a potential iPad killer has apparently opted for suicide instead. 

Though with Google buying Motorola Mobile recently, HP could be better served to license webOS to those forced to watch the massive acquisition from the sidelines, like HTC or Samsung. Having another operating system for their phones would go a long way in strengthening negotiations for Android.

Another alternative, as we’ve noted before, is installing the operating system in cars and home appliances.

Though discontinuation of webOS is not a good sign, HP did announce preliminary results for the third fiscal quarter 2011, with revenue of $31.2 billion compared with $30.7 billion one year ago. Too bad that an announcement of growth had to come amid the death of one of HP’s flagship products.

(This is a developing story so check back for updates.)