So that’s that. Not that it likely caught many of us off-guard, but HP has made the official announcement that they are discontinuing operations for webOS devices, including their phones and the TouchPad tablet.
They also indicated that they will “continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.” What does this even mean? We can only assume that they want to keep their options open given the $1.2 billion dollars they paid for this technology with their acquisition of Palm Inc. just last year.
Last February, HP had announced their intentions to expand webOS to their personal computers. While the press release does not reference this directly, the insinuation is that webOS is about to hit a shelf and start collecting dust.
The only thing surprising about this news is the timing. The TouchPad has been in the news a lot recently, with the launch happening only a few weeks ago on July 1, 2011 and with recent price reductions also being announced –it almost seems like their tablet didn’t even have enough time to fail.
The press release also confirmed that HP has entered discussions with Autonomy Corporation, a global leader in infrastructure software development, and indicates that they may make an offer on the company. Judging by the news-wire, even this information may be out of date as many are suggesting the sale has gone through –but we will see.
What did HP do wrong with the TouchPad? Did they rush a device to market that wasn’t ready? Is it a marketing failure? Is webOS just an inferior product? Is there room in the market for something other than iOS and Android? I’m going to guess that this news has the folks at Microsoft raising their eyebrows as they look to expand their own mobile market as one of ‘the other guys’.