HP has confirmed it has layoffs in the webOS business group underway, a part of the announced effort to shut the hardware side of that group down this year. The company has confirmed that over 500 layoffs will be made to that end, leaving some to speculate the development of webOS might be impacted. Multiple sources close to the situation have indicated this is not that case, that the webOS development team is not affected by these layoffs.
Companies making big changes in direction often offer retention bonuses to key employees to make sure they don't leave for greener pastures. This has been the case at HP, with the company offering bonuses to webOS developers who stick around. The team is still intact due to these bonuses, and hard at work on continued development of the OS. The company would not confirm this, but multiple sources have told us the bonuses were offered soon after HP announced the impending shutdown of the webOS hardware business.
The developer relations team, the group that interfaces between the internal webOS developers and outside app developers seems to be going strong. HP has been helping enthusiasts with conducting events all over the world for months, and these events are still being held by the developer community which indicates the HP team is still working with them.
This makes sense as HP made it clear it is trying to find the best way to leverage its investment in webOS. That could include licensing the OS to third parties or selling the platform outright. So far no company has expressed an interest in buying webOS, so it's not clear that is a viable option for HP. The continued development of the OS is necessary to support existing customers and to attract business partners.