You’d think that a company like HP would figure out what it wants to do with webOS before it publicly discontinues all current and future products containing the operating system. You know, to avoid confusion. Well, no, apparently the decision was made with too much haste. According to ThisIsMyNext, HP held an all-hands meeting with the webOS team yesterday where newly appointed head of webOS Stephen DeWitt reiterated that HP still plans to work on webOS and will probably license it out.
“We are not walking away from webOS,” DeWitt adamantly repeated during the meeting, perhaps pounding his fist on the table as he repeated the line (pure speculation). DeWitt had no plan yet on what exactly will happen to the smartphone operating system. He detailed out a plan to make a plan within the next two weeks, admitting that “Clearly, we don’t have all the answers today” to employees.
During the meeting DeWitt said that staff reductions were coming and that he plans to keep people “that are serious about winning” onboard. He and HP VP Todd Bradley admitted that webOS was failing primarily due to bad hardware like the TouchPad, the immense failure of which forced HP to stop “trying to force non-competitive products into the market.” Apple Insider has reported that HP took a $100 million hit to take back unsold TouchPads from retailers.
Licensing was brought up as an option, but Bradley noted that webOS is currently only usable on a single set of Qualcomm processors. It would need to be expanded far beyond that to make an effective business of licensing because not all vendors will care, or may be able to use the Qualcomm chip HP demands.
So what the hell is going on at HP? We don’t really know, but it sounds like they don’t know either. What a mess. It’s sad that the company has chosen to publicly play games with the integrity of webOS, which had the potential to be one of the best and most successful mobile platforms on the market at one time.