HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

Summary: HP would like to keep webOS but it can't decide because business is JUST SO HARD!

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HP CEO Meg Whitman met with the webOS group today in a meeting that was expected to lay out a definitive plan about the future of the webOS platform. Whether HP was going to sell the platform outright or to shut it down, the meeting was believed called to let the affected employees know what their future might hold. Instead, reports are that Whitman explained they still don't know what they are going to do with webOS.

According to those at the meeting Whitman explained that whether or not to keep webOS is a complicated decision. The economics of such a move must be carefully considered before a final decision can be made. She went on to tell employees that "If HP decides [to keep webOS], we're going to do it in a very significant way over a multi-year period." In other words if they don't dump the platform outright, it will make it a viable business.

Excuse me for stating the obvious but a viable business was what HP had until it shockingly shut it down just a few weeks after launching its first webOS tablet. The company stepped up and killed the entire product line, in what can only be described as one of the most bizarre business moves in memory. This is significant as Whitman mentioned that any attempt at continuing with webOS would focus on tablets, as phones complicate the business. The tablet is what HP killed just 59 days after it hit the market.

So let's recap. HP killed webOS in a questionable move just a few weeks ago. The company stated it would decide what to do about it-- continue operating it as a product line, dump it, or sell it-- in short order. Whitman then calls this latest meeting to state that HP still can't figure out what to do with the webOS business. Maybe it will fire it back up, in which case it will do it right. Or not. The company can't figure it out yet because business is just so hard.

If ever a major corporation has doomed a product line to failure it is HP. Launch a product, kill it within days of that launch, announce you're getting out of that business, then state maybe not. Then call an all-hands meeting to tell affected employees how hard it is to decide what to do with their futures. If this isn't incompetence I don't know what is. At the very least is doesn't instill any confidence that HP knows what it is doing. About anything.

Image credit: Flickr user bixentro

Topics: Operating Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Mobile OS

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  • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

    Well said, James. HP is showing that they have no corporate level business plan. Ironically, the last CEO appeared to have a business plan. Unfortunately, he forgot to get any buy-in at the board level, and it was a terrible plan for a company like HP.

    So HP gets rid of a guy with admittedly questionable vision for a new leadership that has absolutely no vision. If I were a Fortune 100 company and needed a new supply contract for ANYTHING, I would not look to HP. Heck, I might move to maintaining my current HP products with GeekSquad!
    jglopic
    • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

      @jglopic
      I think if you go back and look at the reporting following the firing and Whitman's selection, you'll see the board agreed with Apotheker's moves.

      Whitman said he wasn't selling the vision or plan to the stock market and that's why the change was made.
      DannyO_0x98
      • Agree; killing WebOS business was not 'bizzare' move since it was ...

        @DannyO_0x98: ... generated losses and promised [bbillions dollars losses for the future[/b] if HP would continue to try to really enter tablet market. So Apotheker made HP good and saved the company from hopeless battle for the market. Grandiose sales of Xoom and PlayBook (like 100 000 units, a major decline, or so for each in Q3 prove the point).

        This is why Whitman can not decide immediately whether to revive WebOS business or not. She does not want to be the one who would draw HP into multiyear losses.
        dderss
    • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

      @jglopic HP's actions definitely don't instill confidence in the management.
      JamesKendrick
    • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

      @jglopic HP gets rid of a guy who made one of the biggest blunders in it's history - pro tip if you're going to sell your PC business you do it cloak and dagger like IBM did and let your customer's deal with second rate products (thanks Lenovo.) Apotheker damaged their PC business handly when he said they were thinking about selling it before they did? Why? Because all your clients go wtf we don't know what we're going to get why should we renew our contracts and when around 90% of your revenue is infact your hardware sales the bulk of your company now worries about their jobs. The only company that's truely benifited from his unique vision is Dell if you ask me -as for Whitman she just inherited an absolute mess. It's way too soon to say she has no vision at this point while she cleans up one of the biggest IT blunders in history short of an iPhone release. I have to wonder if the hyper critical and patronizing tone of the article isn't infact because she's a woman.
      ITSamurai
  • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

    I for one am glad they aren't being rash here because a lot is riding on their future.
    slickjim
  • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

    With this kind of indecisive leadership, it's a good thing she wasn't elected governor. Meg, please don't pick up the phone and call me in the middle of the night to tell me that you haven't figured out what to do with WebOS.

    Or was this whole thing just a way to try and get additional parties interested in buying WebOS? I can just hear what's echoing in Meg's mind: "Take my WebOS, please!"
    josephdowdy
  • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

    Why would any developer pick WebOS even if HP decides not to sell it, every snap decision and waffling about product lines hurts their credibility. If your going to speculate about spinning off businesses, OS's etc. at least do it behind closed doors.
    dwb124
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  • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

    The writing is on the wall "The future is tablet DeskTop is dead " So to have an in house Web OS for tablets will give HP leverage. HP should carry on with Web OS and also license Web OS to Cell phone makers.
    nboke
  • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

    "The company can???t figure it out yet because business is just so hard."

    Aww, poor babies.

    Life is hard.
    CobraA1
  • Is this a joke? Are you joking? webos and touchpads were never

    a viable business for anyone. It was on track to lose HP hundreds of millions and never stop doing so. There was nothing questionable about shutting it down and stopping the loses before they damaged the entire company. The only reason they're still dithering is because they're still trying to figure a way to not look like complete fools for buying it to begin with.
    Johnny Vegas
  • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

    This really is a unique opportunity for HP to breakaway with the consumer space surging, enterprise adopting and new computing platforms low power , TV, tablets it's a no brainer

    1 Digital Signage
    2. Mobile phones
    3. Tablets
    4. TV and touchscreens are ripe for a change
    5. POS systems
    6. Low power servers see HP latest release

    Desktop and mobile are merging..anyone look at Windows 8 and Mac OS writing is on the wall. HP has this one opportunity to OWN its destiny and future.. Do they have the guts and vision to do it?
    I think they are uniquely positioned in both consumer and enterprise no other company has its assets they could breakaway and offer something different and inventive to the market if they so choose...that would require a vision
    DegagneM
  • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

    Man, I was a WebOS believer at one point, but every time I hear a new piece of silly WebOS news, it makes me all the more pleased I didn't drop retail coin for one of those tablets when they came out. Eek.
    Playdrv4me
  • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

    "Excuse me for stating the obvious but a viable business was what HP had until it shockingly shut it down just a few weeks after launching its first webOS tablet. The company stepped up and killed the entire product line, in what can only be described as one of the most bizarre business moves in memory. This is significant as Whitman mentioned that any attempt at continuing with webOS would focus on tablets, as phones complicate the business. The tablet is what HP killed just 59 days after it hit the market."

    AGREED! Whole heartedly! I think it would be another mistake to leave the phones out of the equation. One of the best features of yet another pad was it's synergy with the Pre. The two work seamlessly together. I was really looking forward to purchasing these products but it was killed before even reaching Canada. Now is the perfect time for them to relaunch, just before the holiday season, and with what is going on with both Apple and RIM.
    bentmusic
  • Given HP's bizarre back-and-forth on WebOS,

    why would I, or any other developer, ever take the risk of building for that platform? WebOS died when HP killed it right after a product launch. This demonstrated to all of us that they didn't know what they had, nor what to do with it, nor had any plan in place for it's future. That is a not a promising outlook.

    Considering the economy as it is expected to be for up to the next decade (or so), I just can't take a big risk trying to support something when even the owners can't decide if it's worth doing.

    Goodbye WebOS, rest in peace.

    Regards,
    Jon
    JonathonDoe
  • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

    As John Wayne said, "Life is hard.... it's even harder when you're stupid."
    benched42
  • RE: HP to webOS group: Business is JUST SO HARD!

    I just bought an HP tablet, almost bought the Pre 2 yrs ago,what a GREAT operating system!

    Steve Jobs saved Apple with his NEXT OS, some smart person at HP might do the same, make HP unique with terrific products and product design, integrated around the wonderful WebOS!!

    C'mon, Meg, show some pzazz!! Hire an old boomer like me, we'll kick butt! First, we'll team up with Target's outstanding design team and distribution, then...JUST ONE MORE THING...

    Phil CLOCK

    Phil Clock
    philclock