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HP to shed PC division, cancels WebOS devices

HP to shed PC division, cancels WebOS devices

HP has killed the WebOS-based TouchPad just weeks after finally launching it, but at least WebOS itself will continue.

An official statement from HP says that ‘its board of directors has authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG). HP will consider a broad range of options that may include, among others, a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction.

The PSG is best recognised by the tag line ‘The Computer’s Personal Again’ and includes some interesting products, including all-in-one PCs and the gaming division that incorporated ex-Custom PC columnist Rahul Sood’s Voodoo PC company in 2006.

The result of the Voodoo takeover was a small range of Blackbird PCs that offered then-unheard of features such as allowing CrossFire setups on Nvidia nForcemotherboards.

We’ve reviewed a few Blackbird PCs in Custom PC but found them a largely disappointing comprise on the loonacy of Voodoo PC such as the gold-plated PC it showed in 2006. However, the gaming range of HP computers seems to have dwindled to nothing, and its figurehead Rahul Sood left to join Microsoft claiming that he’d be working with ‘some really... really... really cool stuff come January 2011.

Meanwhile. many will bemoan the loss of WebOS - seen by many as a genuine contender to iOS and Android -especially after the first WebOS tablet was only launched a couple of weeks ago and to reasonable critical acclaim.

The decision that HP ‘plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.’ is baffling, but leaves room for HP to license the OS to other manufacturers and try to increase its prevalence and profitability that way.

What do you make of the announcement? Was this inevitable and an indication of things to come, or did this come as a surprise? Let us know in the forum.

13 Comments

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Sketchee 19th August 2011, 11:13 Quote
No surprises there, they've just bought Autonomy for something like $11bn.

http://www.theprovince.com/technology/buys+Autonomy/5277029/story.html
coolius 19th August 2011, 11:14 Quote
By releasing the TouchPad in to a marketplace already crowded with many Android tablets as well as the Playbook, it was never going to take the world by storm. Had it been release earlier this year, it could've been a different story.

HP has been steadily moving towards enterprise and away from consumers in recent years, its a shame they didn't put 100% into WebOS, and transforming it into the all-conquering alternative to iOS, Android and even Windows.
Singularity 19th August 2011, 11:38 Quote
Sad to see webOS go the way of the dodo. Was very happy when palm introduced it. But i expected something like this to happen with HP's buyout. The PSG, tho... their machines have gotten dreadfully bad compared to the competition in the last 5ish years... i say let the PSG die (or be sold to someone who wants to make quality machines).

I'm just sad that webOS wasn't bought by a company that could make it work, like HTC or Samsung...
runadumb 19th August 2011, 11:46 Quote
WebOS had such potential but was riddled with problems from day one and will go down in history as how not to launch a product.

Pre 1 announed 6-7 months before it finally launched, which in the mobile sector is over half a full product iteration. Launched even later here in the UK, was tied to a single network, priced the same as the Iphone *spits* and not available Sim-free. It just couldn't compare to what was available at the time.

Pre 2: was released the same week they announced the Pre 3!!!! Unbelievable.

Pre 3 was meeting some of the previous failures of the original Pre's launch. Announced way to early (even though we were told they wouldn't do that again), dated spec's (choice of 8 or 16gig of memory? seriously?) but it actually had a decent chance. Well, before this announcement blew any chance of that.

I was on Windows Mobile using a TouchHD when I first saw the Pre at CES. I was blown away and couldn't wait to get my hands on one. Thing was though, I did wait. I waited a long time and when the release finally came (October I think) I was much less enthusiastic and ended up skipping it for the soon to be released Nexus 1.
I still kept my eye on Webos development but it just seemed to stall at every turn and looked doomed. Turns out, it was :(

How can such awesome software be so badly handled? R.I.P Palm
Stelph 19th August 2011, 12:20 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by runadumb
WebOS had such potential but was riddled with problems from day one and will go down in history as how not to launch a product.

Pre 1 announed 6-7 months before it finally launched, which in the mobile sector is over half a full product iteration. Launched even later here in the UK, was tied to a single network, priced the same as the Iphone *spits* and not available Sim-free. It just couldn't compare to what was available at the time.

Pre 2: was released the same week they announced the Pre 3!!!! Unbelievable.

Pre 3 was meeting some of the previous failures of the original Pre's launch. Announced way to early (even though we were told they wouldn't do that again), dated spec's (choice of 8 or 16gig of memory? seriously?) but it actually had a decent chance. Well, before this announcement blew any chance of that.

I was on Windows Mobile using a TouchHD when I first saw the Pre at CES. I was blown away and couldn't wait to get my hands on one. Thing was though, I did wait. I waited a long time and when the release finally came (October I think) I was much less enthusiastic and ended up skipping it for the soon to be released Nexus 1.
I still kept my eye on Webos development but it just seemed to stall at every turn and looked doomed. Turns out, it was :(

How can such awesome software be so badly handled? R.I.P Palm

+1 - was in the same situation living in the UK, was so excited by what Plam offered and it seemed ideal compared to a very young and ropey Android and iOS, however delays and irritating pricing with O2 (what did Palm expect O2 to do when they were the sole vendors for the iPhone and became sole vendors of the Pre, no competition so were just priced the same) meant I never got one.

The biggest tragedy IMO is that Nokia didnt swipe up Palm, Web OS on Nokia phones wouldve been awesome.... ah well
Claave 19th August 2011, 12:23 Quote
Guys, from the article:

'HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.'

I'd guess HP will license WebOS to other manufacturers, and with no HP rival hardware, companies like HTC might go for it. 'optimise the value' surely doesn't mean 'kill' but rather, 'make more valuable'.
javaman 19th August 2011, 13:50 Quote
HP are a bunch of dickwads /thread
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claave
Guys, from the article:

'HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.'

I'd guess HP will license WebOS to other manufacturers, and with no HP rival hardware, companies like HTC might go for it. 'optimise the value' surely doesn't mean 'kill' but rather, 'make more valuable'.

Yet Apple, Blackberry and now MS are using the control everything approach. HP are only interested in making quick easy money and just asset stripped the company with no interest in developing it. They kept the product launches just to keep share prices up till they re-organised everything and this announcement is to probably do the same, to make sure some suckers still buy their hardware. If they want to to optimize the value of webOS then they need to "force it upon" consumers. The best way to do that is to saturate the market with the product.
Claave 19th August 2011, 14:19 Quote
^ you could argue that part of the success of Android is a degree of openness and that the in-house Nexus range was small and of mediocre quality (ie, insignificant to other handset makers).

The best way to saturate a market with software is to make as many hardware manufacturers as possible comfortable with using it. Once you have a strong foothold, you can then go for the unified approach (as Google has done with Motorola Mobile, for example).

It looks like HP has chosen the cheaper short-term option that could yield the most profit by keeping WebOS but canning the hardware development. The other path to cut costs would be to kill WebOS and become yet another Android tablet/phone manufacturer. That doesn't seem sensible though, given Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobile and the implication that there might be a 'pure' Google Android device to compete against soon.

Just my 2p on the topic.
javaman 19th August 2011, 14:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claave
^ you could argue that part of the success of Android is a degree of openness and that the in-house Nexus range was small and of mediocre quality (ie, insignificant to other handset makers).

The best way to saturate a market with software is to make as many hardware manufacturers as possible comfortable with using it. Once you have a strong foothold, you can then go for the unified approach (as Google has done with Motorola Mobile, for example).

It looks like HP has chosen the cheaper short-term option that could yield the most profit by keeping WebOS but canning the hardware development. The other path to cut costs would be to kill WebOS and become yet another Android tablet/phone manufacturer. That doesn't seem sensible though, given Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobile and the implication that there might be a 'pure' Google Android device to compete against soon.

Just my 2p on the topic.

The problem then comes that can the market support more than 1 operating system taking androids approach? HTC, samsung, Sony etc are competing against each other spend money differentiating themselves via name and skins and hardware. Another OS would mean they're spending more time and money just to compete with themselves as well with each other. I don't think the market could support another "release and let the companies do what they want" product. Apple's success is down to offering the "Apple experience" and the same goes for Blackberry (Yes you can argue failure too but its the experience none the less). TBH I loved the nokia hardware and to a point symbian felt different and refreshing from Android but it grated cause it lacked the polish and they failed to change or address flaws when needed. Palm offered a serious contender to everything out there but it needs to be nurtured and pushed in a direction. Apple is Apple, Windows has xbox and MS's promise's, Android has Google's push and more choice than you can shake a stick at, Blackberry offer the best keyboard phones on the market, Palm just needed to carve out a niche and the best way to do that is by controlling the whole experience.

I agree that becoming another hardware manufacturer is dumb since Android has saturated the market but trying to get others to use this "new" product would mean money poured into marketing and time. Integrating it into printers and a quick boot option on their laptops would create an HP environment and eco system. TBH I can see them puling it into enterprise only direction but there was a reason MS and Blackberry still try to compete in retail.

Slight tongue in cheek I think google only bought motorola since they ballsed up with blur so badly they wanted to remove that blight once and for all lol. Tho 17000 patients are worth their weight in gold these days.
confusis 20th August 2011, 00:12 Quote
They'l just spin the PC division to Compaq and send them on their way I'd say
rollo 20th August 2011, 14:40 Quote
Problem hp and dell faced in the future was less and less profitability on desktop pc and laptop sales, Unless your name is Apple you cant sell a desktop pc or laptop for any huge amount of profit, the profit on Complete Desktop Units and Laptops is tiny once you get into it,

They sell a £400 pc to joe blogs they probably bearly make £10-20 once costs are figured into that. Whilst at consumer level your selling server hardware for many thousands of pounds.

IOS vs Andriod they wont ever kill each other off as they are competing at different ends of the consumer market.
NethLyn 23rd August 2011, 16:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by confusis
They'l just spin the PC division to Compaq and send them on their way I'd say

You'd hope so, because the only place you can use Apple's handheld OS are on devices from Apple. HP hatched the egg by having this firesale for all of its Touchpads, and seemingly have wrung the neck of the chicken in the process - they don't want to keep making money on supplying both hardware and OS? I just don't get it.

If they're dumping these devices, and PCs, I hope that doesn't mean the printers are gone as well, considering I just upgraded to a newer Deskjet a couple of months ago.
javaman 24th August 2011, 18:08 Quote
rumours are Samsung could buy pc division. Donno how much truth is in that tho.
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