HP to split webOS team as software enters incubator division

Chris Davies - Sep 3, 2011, 4:44pm CDT
HP to split webOS team as software enters incubator division

HP apparently intends to split the webOS Global Business Unit into two, pushing the webOS software side over to the Office of Strategy and Technology while the ex-Palm hardware arm stays a part of the Personal Systems Group. The division, leaked by two internal HP emails passed to PreCentral, will leave HP free to license off webOS to other companies without the competition of the same group developing devices with it. Alternatively, it could be a simpler way for HP to close the door on its webOS hardware altogether.

“Earlier this month, I told you about our difficult but necessary decision to discontinue the development of our webOS hardware devices” PSG EVP Todd Bradley said in his email to staff. “However, the webOS platform that powers these devices continues to demonstrate its ability to improve how our customers look up information, access entertainment and stay connected on the go.”

In a second memo from Shane Robison, EVP, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer of the Office of Strategy and Technology at HP, the company’s intention to refocus its investment into webOS as a software platform, rather than as a software/hardware partnership, is reiterated:

“The webOS software employees join HP Cloud Services, Vertica, and Business Solutions as an incubating business group. However, while these teams will be joining OS&T we have decided not to initiate any integration activities. These teams will continue to operate under their current systems and processes until further notice”

Whether HP can convert that investment into a platform users – and licensees – want remains to be seen. The company restarted TouchPad production after surprise customer demand following the tablet’s cancellation, though whether that is through some latent desire for the hardware itself or a direct result of the sub-$100 fire sale pricing is debatable.


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