RIP webOS: Again and for good this time

Summary:The situation at HP is putting a nail in the coffin of webOS, effectively killing it off yet again.

There are few tales in the tech business as sad as that of webOS, the groundbreaking (at the time) mobile OS by beleaguered Palm that HP bought for far too much money a few years ago. Sales of webOS phones never made a dent in the industry, and the much-anticipated TouchPad tablet was cancelled by HP before it even got started.

Then HP reshuffled its management and decided to make webOS open-source to keep the platform from going the way of the dodo. It would offer webOS to the world for anyone to use, and keep the team intact to make a serious effort.

Now comes the word that Google has poached the core Enyo team from HP, to end up doing who-knows-what at Google. Odds are it won't be bringing Enyo, the application framework behind webOS, into the Android effort. Whatever these smart folks end up doing for Google, their departure pretty much puts the kibosh on the open-source webOS effort no matter what HP says.

HP is not in a position to make a serious run at the webOS open-source effort. Having just announced the impending layoff of 27,000 employees, HP must be the worst place to work in any industry. You read that right, the layoffs are in the thousands, or more than many companies in the world employ in total. What a sad place HP must be to work today.

So don't expect webOS to set the open-source world on fire, it is coming from too bad a place for that to happen. Given HP's terrible situation, there is no way the open-source webOS effort will be a priority. Most of the key webOS team have already left HP for greener pastures, and this news about the important Enyo team is just a twisting of the knife.

It's a safe call to say that webOS is finally dead in reality, if not in name. Such a sad end for what could have been a revolutionary mobile OS. RIP webOS.

Topics: Mobile OS

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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