Yes, webOS and the TouchPad were doing badly on the market. But, so what? A company the size of HP doesn't get out of the consumer PC market and new tablets and spin around on a dime because it can't be as “as cool as Apple.” No, it does so because Apotheker and his cronies had planned for months to try to transform HP into their old company, SAP, and go head to head not so much with IBM, but his old sparring partner, Oracle.
While HP's rank and file continued to work on its PCs and took the TouchPad to market, Apotheker was replacing HP's top-level brass with his old friends from SAP. Apotheker never intended for HP to become an Apple competitor; his plan was to recreate the gray, enterprise business of SAP that was his comfort zone.
What I think happened is that Apotheker never seriously considered supporting webOS or HP's PC business. He was just letting the PC division and the former Palm group go through the motions while he was setting up his long term strategic vision: Recreating his own version of SAP to complete with IBM. Good luck with that.
Six reasons why HP's IBM moment will prove elusive