Hewlett-Packard apparently made a decision to split its webOS unit into software and hardware arms, according to a new report.
Hewlett-Packard will divide its webOS arm into two separate
units that will report to different areas of
the company, according to two leaked memos that have made their way onto the
HP acquired webOS as part of its takeover of Palm in 2010.
The manufacturer originally had big plans for loading the operating system onto
a variety of devices, including tablets, smartphones, desktops and laptops.
Following anemic sales performance by the TouchPad tablet, however, HP made the
radical decision to end its efforts in webOS hardware.
Now, HP's webOS software assets will find their way into the
arms-however welcoming-of its Office of Strategy and Technology. The
other parts of the webOS corporate infrastructure, presumably including its
hardware interests, will continue as part of the Personal Systems Group, which
manufactures HP's PCs, and which likely will
be spun off into its own entity under the terms of the company's new strategy.
"We have decided that we'll be most effective in these
efforts by having the teams in webOS software engineering, worldwide developer
relations and webOS software product marketing join the Office of Strategy and
Technology," Todd Bradley, executive vice president of HP's Personal Systems
Group, wrote in an email circulated to the webOS developer team. "The remainder
of the webOS team, under Stephen DeWitt, will continue to report into PSG."
That email was reprinted by the blog Precentral.net
which included a similar email from Shane Robison, HP's executive vice
president and chief strategy
and technology officer,
outlining the same strategy.
As the blog pointed out in the Sept. 3 posting accompanying
those emails, Palm split itself apart along similar lines in 2003, peeling off
respective hardware and software divisions. It was, apparently, a "disaster."
Although HP plans to shut down its TouchPad manufacturing
capabilities, the company plans on issuing a final, limited run on the devices
in coming weeks. After it first announced an end to the TouchPad, and slashed
the tablet's price in a bid to clear out inventory, consumers stampeded to
claim a respectable touch-screen device at a steal.
Flooding the market with additional TouchPads could boost
the value of webOS if HP decides to sell off the asset, according to an
analyst. A "larger installed base of TouchPad and webOS devices should increase
the value of webOS in a potential sale," Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu wrote in a
research note widely circulated on Barron's
and other financial Websites. "We believe logical buyers may include Samsung
Electronics, Research In Motion, HTC, Amazon.com, Facebook, Sony, Microsoft and
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