I was finishing up a post about the HP TouchPad’s poor sales performance and what HP would have to do to remedy that, but I guess I can just forget about all of that now since today HP announced they will no longer produce webOS devices. In a press release, HP said that “it 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.” Ugh! You have to feel really bad for anyone who plunked down $500 for a TouchPad.
I guess the $1.2B HP spent on Palm in 2010 ended up buying a bunch of patents.
HP’s press release also says they are looking to separate themselves from their PC business. So instead of trying to be more like Apple, they are looking to be more like IBM and concentrate on back end services, which are highly profitable, as opposed to the cutthroat business of selling consumer devices. This may be the best move for HP long term but it is still somewhat disappointing to see an important force in mobile technology (i.e. Palm) disappear.
As a long time Palm fan (I owned an original 3Com Pilot 5000!), it is sad to see the end of the line. I never owned a webOS device (maybe that is part of the problem!) but they always seemed innovative and interesting and I was happy to see them stirring the technology pot. webOS certainly had an influence on iOS and Android which is exactly what competition is supposed to do.
I hope that HP does end up selling or licensing webOS to another company that can do great things with it. I would think that in the wake of Google’s acquisition of Motorola that other Android OEMs (e.g. Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony) would be thinking of a Plan B in case Google gives Moto too many unfair advantages (Nah, that would never happen. After all, Google’s motto is “do no evil”.)