HP confirmed that it has started workforce reductions in what remains of its webOS group and Palm smartphone business. More than 500 staff members face layoffs.
fallout from the bombastic Aug.
18 Hewlett-Packard corporate strategy left turn
is beginning to take shape
in the form of real effects on people.
confirmed Sept. 20 that it has started workforce reductions in what remains of
group and Palm smartphone business.
Several staff members already have left
on their own volition; more than 500 are expected to lose their jobs
involuntarily in the next few days.
Personal Systems Group, which also is being
decimated by the new corporate plan
, is expected to be next up for the
HP spokesperson sent this memo to eWEEK
"As communicated on August 18, 2011, HP will discontinue the development
of webOS devices within the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, which ends Oct.
31, 2011. As part of this decision, the webOS GBU is undergoing a reduction in
workforce. Today's actions are part of this initiative.
this time, we stand by our commitments to our webOS customers and will work to
ensure that support and service for customers are not adversely affected. HP is
exploring ways to leverage webOS software."
HP Dropped Some Early Hints
offered a clue to its future plans back on July 11, when it transferred
webOS division head Jon Rubinstein to the Personal Systems Group
five months after a splashy
introducing the webOS-run HP TouchPad and the Pre and Veer
smartphones. HP replaced Rubinstein with Stephen DeWitt only about a month
after the TouchPad and the new phones hit the stores.
another early indication of change was when one of the lead Palm Pre designers,
Peter Skillman, left
after then-CEO Mark Hurd was asked to leave HP in August
SAP chief executive Leo Apotheker, who eventually replaced Hurd as HP's chief executive in November
2010, was known as a software advocate with no experience in the mobile world;
this was another-albeit more apparent-clue as to HP's long-term plans, one that
was discussed long and hard in the IT media.
former Apple employee who contributed significantly to the Apple iPod and iMac,
Rubinstein was named CEO of Palm in June 2009, just days after the successful
launch of the Palm Pre. HP then bought Palm in April 2010 for $1.2 billion, and
Rubinstein, naturally, moved to HP. Rubinstein now answers to HP Executive Vice
President Todd Bradley in the PSG, but the future doesn't look so good there
this point, no one knows what HP will do with the webOS and personal systems IP
and facilities-the main ones are located in Houston and in Northern California.
HP has indicated that it is considering licensing deals and perhaps an outright
sale of webOS.