HP confirms layoffs; Cutting 500 jobs at webOS division

Summary:HP says it will cut jobs in the webOS division, as reports suggest it could be over 500 employees facing the chop. Could webOS still be spun-off or sold-off somewhere?

Following HP's decision earlier in the summer to wind down the PC and tablet group, and spin or sell off the Palm division, the company has confirmed it will lay off employees, particularly in the webOS section of operations.

Reports suggest that sources close to the company say that HP has plans to lay off over 500 employees, and that the redundancies could begin as early as this week.

HP is reported to have confirmed the layoffs were under way, but declined to comment on the figure.

The company which had been struggling in the PC and tablet space decided to close the division in August after a poor sales outlook. After which, the HP TouchPad as the companies last webOS-based tablet went through an extraordinary fire sale, where prices for the tablet plummeted. Tens of thousands bought the tablet, making it one of the most sought after devices of the summer.

In the company's tablet division's demise; it actually made the tablet popular.

However, an internal memo from HP management suggested that employees could be the last people to buy the HP TouchPad, as the company ceased production of the tablet and seeks to clear existing inventories.

Since the fire sale, HP produced an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 extra devices to satisfy demand for unfulfilled orders on the now defunct device.

While reports suggest a first-come, first-serve basis, the greatly reduced in price tablet could sell as less than $99 for a 32GB TouchPad internally once the sale begins.

Since August, HP is considering licensing part of all of its webOS operating system to third party companies. Samsung expressed interest, but denied that it would buy the ageing operating system, originally bought from Palm in 2010.

Some believe Facebook could be the saviour to the operating system 'in stasis', but could serve as "huge distraction" for the company at a time where the world's largest social network is focusing on battling others in the social arena.

Related:

Topics: Operating Systems, CXO, Hewlett-Packard, IT Employment, Mobile OS

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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