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HP Moves WebOS From PC Group: What Next?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the management-usually-has-the-upper-outhouse dept.

HP 70

GMGruman writes "Over the weekend, HP execs posted statements announcing the transfer of WebOS from the PC group that produced the now-killed TouchPad tablet and other mobile devices to HP's Office of Strategy and Technology. Is that a new lifeline for WebOS? Or, as analyst Trip Chowdhry suggested, is WebOS a pawn in a Shakespearean corporate game by HP CEO Léo Apotheker?"

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New Theory: (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311074)

As best I can tell, HP's actions at this point can be most accurately modeled by assuming that somebody accidentally let an Eliza chatbot into an MBA program, and then handed it the reins...

Re:New Theory: (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311088)

At this point? That happened nearly two decades ago.

Re:New Theory: (4, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312210)

At this point? That happened nearly two decades ago.

Carly was only there from 1999-2005.

Re:New Theory: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313720)

... but who hired her?

Re:New Theory: (4, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311148)

Can you elaborate on that?

Re:New Theory: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311222)

Re:New Theory: (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313126)

Actually after the one two punch of Fiorina and Hurd frankly that would probably be an improvement. HP has just been so badly mismanaged they are frankly only floating with just their name and past to keep them above water. But don't worry the current head idiot with his "hey we'll just become IBM!" while kinda ignoring there already is an IBM will put the last nails in the coffin and make out like a bandit while doing so.

It must be nice to be in that exclusive 1%er club where no matter how badly you suck at your job you still walk away with rock star sacks of money. How much did Fiorina and Hurd walk away with again?

Re:New Theory: (2)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313988)

Rock star sacks of money? Rock stars never made near what big shot CEO's a bringing down.

Re:New Theory: (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313884)

Still better than Nokia!

Rumors (5, Interesting)

Mensa Babe (675349) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311096)

Well, according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , HP's Office of Strategy and Technology has four main functions: (1) steering the company's $3.6 billion research and development investment, (2) fostering the development of the company's global technical community, (3) leading the company's strategy and corporate development efforts, and (4) performing worldwide corporate marketing activities. Under this office is HP Labs, the research arm of HP. Founded in 1966, HP Labs's function is to deliver new technologies and to create business opportunities that go beyond HP's current strategies. An example of recent HP Lab technology includes the Memory spot chip. HP IdeaLab further provides a web forum on early-state innovations to encourage open feedback from consumers and the development community.

It is hard to say at this point what could it mean to WebOS but I've heard rumors about some experiments with Android at HP. Some speculate that HP is thinking about making the WebOS just a thin UI layer on top of Android, just like Mac OS X did with UNIX. It may seem strange at first but after thinking about it for a while it could be the only way that HP could survive in the not so distant future after the Apple-Google war is over and still have original software advantage without the hassle to develop and maintain the entire operating system stack.

Re:Rumors (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311186)

Very nice analysis. The PC is the way backward. A vertically integrated platform where they control the UI is the way forward for HP. So WebOS and PC must split.

Re:Rumors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311298)

Why don't they add WebOS as a layer over Meego? You could still run Android apps using Dalvik and would have a much cleaner codebase underneath.

Re:Rumors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311862)

Because the Android "implementation" would work about as well as WinAPI's WINE. Half-assed and with most major NDK apps broken.

Re:Rumors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311888)

Alternately, why don't they just add Dalvik to WebOS? It's Linux underneath too.

Re:Rumors (2)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311300)

It is hard to say at this point what could it mean to WebOS but I've heard rumors about some experiments with Android at HP. Some speculate that HP is thinking about making the WebOS just a thin UI layer on top of Android, just like Mac OS X did with UNIX. It may seem strange at first but after thinking about it for a while it could be the only way that HP could survive in the not so distant future after the Apple-Google war is over and still have original software advantage without the hassle to develop and maintain the entire operating system stack.

Why do HP need an "original software advantage"? I thought they were primarily (apart from necessary propriety drivers for their hardware and storage and cloud solutions, etc of course). I do see that Wikipedia (quoted below) make some statements regarding their software division.

HP Software Division is the company's enterprise software unit. For years, HP has produced and marketed its brand of enterprise management software, HP OpenView. From September 2005 through 2010, HP purchased a total of 15 software companies between as part of a publicized, deliberate strategy to augment its software offerings for large business customers.[48] HP Software sells three categories of software: IT performance management, IT management software and information management software. HP Software also provides consulting, Software as a service, cloud computing solutions, education and support services.

But to be honest I didn't think it was a major part of their corporation or revenue. Perhaps I've been living in a cave...

Is there anyone here that works for a large business customer of HP and used there software?

(I'm genuinely interested; even though it may sound like a troll that's just because I appear to be ignorant on the subject.)

Re:Rumors (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311366)

But to be honest I didn't think it was a major part of their corporation or revenue. Perhaps I've been living in a cave...

Is there anyone here that works for a large business customer of HP and used there software?

(I'm genuinely interested; even though it may sound like a troll that's just because I appear to be ignorant on the subject.)

I'm interested too. I've also heard that HP is nipping at IBM's heels in the IT consulting business, but I only have HP's word on that, too. I've never heard anyone say, "You know what, screw it, HP's experience and expertise is better than IBM's," and I've never known IBM Global Services to allow itself to be undersold, either (at the signing date, anyway).

As far as I can tell, HP has been claiming it's a different kind of company than it really is for years and Apotheker, an enterprise software guy, wants to actually get serious about it. Which is smart, if you've seen what printers retail for these days.

Re:Rumors (1)

anjilslaire (968692) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311712)

We use HP Service Center where i work (Fortune 100 company) for our ticket/incident management system. http://www8.hp.com/us/en/software/software-product.html?compURI=tcm:245-937082&pageTitle=service-manager [hp.com] Not as nice as Siebel MSE, imho, but it does what it needs to.

Re:Rumors (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313812)

Problem is HP wants to get into the market of IBM and Co, which means business server software. I have yet to see any product from HP in that area. It took IBM and Oracle 20-30 years to build a lineup and consultant army.

Re:Rumors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37312624)

HP does all our internal IT support functions under contract. Resetting passwords, setting up accounts, VPN access, etc. They seem pretty good at it, better than most in house outfits I've dealt with. This is a global company, about 85,000 employees.

Re:Rumors (2)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311908)

Is there anyone here that works for a large business customer of HP and used there software?

I worked for one. They bought a bunch of HP notebooks, and they came with HP ProtectTools. It was worse than worthless - it was a typical case of bland corporateware. It also didn't work. You probably don't expect your fingerprint reader to cause BSOD instead of logging you in; but that's how the software worked. In the end the local IT outlawed installation of this software.

Re:Rumors (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312426)

Thats not their large business corporate software. If you can buy it on a $500 laptop, youre not talking about the same things GP is.

Re:Rumors (1)

RedK (112790) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313894)

Is there anyone here that works for a large business customer of HP and used there software?

(I'm genuinely interested; even though it may sound like a troll that's just because I appear to be ignorant on the subject.)

I do. We use a couple of their different enterpise packages for performance monitoring, centralized printing, backup and of course, clustering and big-iron Unix to run on Integrity boxes.

Oh, our storage too is based off their XP line-up.

Re:Rumors (1)

wdef (1050680) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313984)

HP won't be putting WebOS as a layer over anything. WebOS is history without an HP phone/pad platform to ship on.

Think about it: Android and iOS will rule the mobile/pad world. Android is free and is already dominating the market. Apple's huge strategic coup was to maintain their vertically integrated chimney of sw and hw. People ten years ago kept bleating that Apple was 'wrong' to do this but oh how wrong we all were! Apple not only kept control of hw and sw, they opened their own stores and took control of their retail sales process as well. Then they revolutionized smart phones. HP are doing the exact opposite. Just what the world needs, yet another corporate consulting services company.

Probably the kindest thing HP could do now is open source WebOS and hope the Chinese put it on cheap smart phones. But then why should the PRC ODMs bother when they can get Android?

Re:Rumors (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314014)

Where's the return on investment for WebOS being a thin UI layer? The UI layer is the layer the customer sees, that's why Apple and MS insist on their own. Why would any company want to turn the UI over someone else unless they were a blackbox maker like Dell. HP presumably wants out of the PC business because the return on investment sucks.

Re:Rumors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37314196)

WebOS already uses the an 'Android Kernel' (just have a look at the Linux patch here http://opensource.palm.com/3.0.2/index.html) - I haven't poked around in userspace to see how similar the systems are (I guess most notably whether HP is using Bionic or not...) but I wouldn't be surprised to see WebOS with Android apps in cards, etc.

In fact, that sounds like the perfect Tablet/Mobile OS for me...

Re:Rumors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37316880)

> Some speculate that HP is thinking about making the WebOS just a thin UI layer

Isn't it already? I thought HP paid more than a billion for a JavaScript framework.

Re:Rumors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37330244)

WebOS already runs on top of Android. It's interesting how many people don't know this. My friend works on the WebOS development. He explained it to me. What do you think they re-invented the wheel? They took Android, in fact they were very thankful to Google for doing a lot of the hard stuff for them, such as power optimization, etc. and made WebOS an alternate GUI on top of Android.

Speed of light (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311108)

Maybe they are going to sell a naked pc group and a naked WebOS very soon!
Not to hurt anyone.

Re:Speed of light (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311256)

It would be nice if this were possible. Unfortunately the PC group cannot survive a naked PC strategy.

ALRIGHT OLD MOTHERFUCKERS !! GET OFF YOUR LAWN !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311138)

And take that 99$ PIECE OF SHOT WebOs with you !1

'Tis indeed a drama (1)

DRBivens (148931) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311140)

'Tis indeed a drama, but the real telling question is: To whom does the WebOS division/group/team report in the organization?

The answer to that question often speaks volumes for future plans for a line of business.

Re:'Tis indeed a drama (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311198)

"To whom does the WebOS division/group/team report in the organization?"

The nutcase at the top, obviously.

Who Wants to license Web OS? (1)

PastTense (150947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311156)

So who exactly would be interested in licensing Web OS?

Re:Who Wants to license Web OS? (2)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311478)

Honestly, I think HP was the only place WebOS could have survived. The only hope WebOS has now is if Leo Gets canned and they get a CEO in there that has a brain. Considering that I though they couldn't hire a CEO worse than Carly and was proven wrong, Fat chance that is going to happen.

The other buyout options out there for WebOS didn't look much better.

Nokia: kills all OS'es and Bets the farm on Win7Mobile. Dies due to Idiot CEO.
Google: Would cannibalize the platform and use it as a patent shield or adopt a few features. Only chance WebOS would have there is if Oracle kills android dead. Which is extremely unlikely.
Motorola: see Google
Microsoft: kills WebOS dead. Proclaims Linux is dead and Win7Mobile will rule them all.
Oracle: Kills WebOS dead with the addition of patent Lawsuits to just about every phone maker.
Apple: See Oracle
Samsung: Too much like HP and too invested in android to care. Would get lost in the mix.
LG: See Samsung
Sony: See Samsung
Kyocera: Bought by Sanyo. Bought By Panasonic. See Samsung.
Dell: Gets crushed in the phone market and bails.
Lenovo: Well, at least China would have WebOS phones.
HTC: Too much android investment. Would cannibalize to make a newer SenseUI.
HP: the best Printer OS Ever! Bails on Phone and PC hardware. Dies due to Idiot CEO.
Garmin: the Best On Dash GPS OS Ever! Would try to sell the pixi at $399 subsidized cause it has a GPS receiver.
Sonim: Doesn't fit with their strategy of rugged phones.

Re:Who Wants to license Web OS? (1)

bedouin (248624) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311700)

Dunno about Sony. They're trying to get into tablets now (just showed off two new ones the other day) and WebOS combined with the capability of Sony to occasionally make interesting designs would be the only thing making them stand out in the crowd. I mean, it won't happen but in a perfect world . . .

Apple / Oracle (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312134)

The one difference I could see between Apple and Oracle is that Apple might actually bring some WebOS ideas into iOS... not quite sure which ones though, people loved WebOS notifications but Apple use overhauled that. Perhaps some kind of hybrid...

I can see Apple and/or Microsoft wanting WebOS patents though. It seems like they would be more useful than Motorola patents for the long term.

Fangirl (1, Interesting)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311162)

Apple fanboys/girls get their say, no matter how ludicrous on Apple articles and here I am again.

I am, unashamedly, a "fan" of HP's tx and tm series tablets. They were / are amazing, and some specced almost as good as desktop replacements. I can't believe how HP put no enthusiasm whatsoever behind selling these products, I remember thinking how economies of scale we going to bring me loads more of this type of machine in the years to come, because I couldn't imagine anybody not laptops or tablets not liking these things.

Now I have some idea - HP weren't really "behind" any of these things, like for example Apple, who obviously love themselves and what they do.

My suggestion: Spin off the PC business to me, and I'll give you a percentage of my sales. Just keep making upgraded tx- and tm- clones, with the innards to rival current platforms, a range of sizes to match the wallet, and let someone with enthusiasm show them to people in an Apple shop. Show them folded playing Angry Birds or using Facebook with the Win7 on-screen keyboard, the unfold it and compile something.

Start Maya (on models with graphics card!) and design something with the pen. Use a vector sketch program to demo pressure sensitive pens. Flaming sell the things! All the things I've described would have sold the machine I was using at the time, if I'd wanted to sell it. I've been offered more than retail for my tx2530ea. No chance. That's my pocket Oblivion thank you.

Posted from an Acer 6920G with Radeon 3650 overclocked.... Now imagine what a HP tablet with a 16" screen and the same spec would feel like... nothing if not warm...

Corrections: I'm smashed... (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311194)

Sorry. That post made sense when I wrote it.

I hereby declare that although I'm too smashed to be posting tonight, I promise that if you persevere, you'll find some good points in my OP. Here are some of the less obvious clarifications-

"show them to people in an Apple-like shop. Show them folded up playing Angry Birds or use Facebook on the Windows 7 on screen keyboard, then unfold it and compile something.

Another less obvious correction. (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311238)

If you've read this far, I salute you.

I will gratefully assume anybody replying to this has now comprehended my full article (lol).

There's an extra comma in the first sentence, guesses get points. Also, "I remember thinking how economies of scale were going to bring me loads more of this type of machine in the years to come, because I couldn't imagine anybody who likes laptops or tablets not liking these things."

Thanks, and sorry again for tonight's post. I shouldn't really post in this state, but my OP is good, it's just much worsely written than most...

Re:Another less obvious correction. (1)

ZosX (517789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311484)

LOL!!

Re:Another less obvious correction. (3, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311666)

it's just much worsely written than most...

The worsest. :)

Re:Fangirl (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311556)

If I liked HP hardware as much as you, and HP did to it what they did, I'd have got pretty hammered too...

I'm not sure I'm as big a fan of HP hardware, but I certainly was a big fan of WebOS, and really wanted that to succeed. Selling off support to someone who cares as you are talking about makes sense for more than just the PC division.

Re:Fangirl (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311622)

My suggestion: Spin off the PC business to me, and I'll give you a percentage of my sales. Just keep making upgraded tx- and tm- clones, with the innards to rival current platforms, a range of sizes to match the wallet, and let someone with enthusiasm show them to people in an Apple shop. Show them folded playing Angry Birds or using Facebook with the Win7 on-screen keyboard, the unfold it and compile something.

Start Maya (on models with graphics card!) and design something with the pen. Use a vector sketch program to demo pressure sensitive pens. Flaming sell the things! All the things I've described would have sold the machine I was using at the time, if I'd wanted to sell it.

Ah, youthful idealism.

I know that to you these things seem amazingly cool, and why wouldn't everyone be on board? But no amount of enthusiasm ever sold Windows-based tablets to a wide audience. The reason is simple when you get down to it: they're running a mouse-based OS and mouse-based applications, with a half-assed touch UI clumsily grafted on top. When your software stack is designed from the ground up for mice or other non-finger pointing devices, it really doesn't matter how you design the hardware -- what you actually have is a laptop, until such time as Microsoft and its 3rd party application developers decide to get around to designing proper touch UI.

Which in turn means that when people buy such machines, all they get in the end is a laptop PC, more expensive than it ought to be due to superfluous touchscreen hardware and flippable/rotatable displays. One of my friends had one of these HP tx or tm machines you like (I don't recall which one exactly, I think it had some kind of AMD Turion CPU), and I think he had hoped that the touch interface would be really cool and so forth, but in the end he only used it as a laptop. The touchscreen simply wasn't very useful.

You seem to think that Apple's formula is being enthusiastic about its own products, but that's a consequence of making great products, not a cause. The product has to sell itself, independent of starry-eyed salespeople. It has to connect to people, on their terms, almost automatically. A handful of pen-based drawing demos wouldn't have done that. The brutal truth is, most people don't draw, at all. They'd be sitting there thinking "ho hum".

What Apple has is this: Email and the web are the two truly mainstream computer applications which nearly everyone wants. So anyone can waltz into an Apple Store, pick up an iPad, and discover that the two most vital functions a computer can do (in their mind, remember) have had all the computer folderol they don't want to bother with (files, folders, bootup, etc.) removed, or at least successfully hidden. In their place, there's a viscerally immediate touch interface. Swipe to unlock, touch an icon on the home screen, and as Jobs might say, "boom", you're looking at email or on the web in about as much time as it takes to pick the thing up off the table. Scrolling around with swipes of your finger. That's cool, and it's a nearly universal appeal. The only way it doesn't work is if you're one of the tiny handful of people who likes computers for their own sake (like you or I) and you view the iOS level of simplification as an unacceptable restriction. For everyone else, it's the hook which grabs them and says "I need this, it's going to simplify my life".

So: if HP is to copy the Apple approach to sales, first they need some products worthy of it. I hope you won't take this the wrong way, but your favorite HP touchscreen laptop/tablet convertibles weren't it. They were just another of the long stream of examples of how the Microsoft approach to tablet computing was flawed.

WebOS could've been it, and HP did fail to get behind it, but there's an argument to be made that they were too late to market and suffered from too many execution flaws going back to the days when WebOS was still Palm (see: all the reports of slowness and bugginess in reviews of every WebOS product ever shipped, including TouchPad).

Re:Fangirl (1)

gtall (79522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314134)

Ditto. There's another headwind working against HP. Hardware is becoming comoditized, so without their own tablet, they cannot license WebOS for very much because otherwise it would swamp the price of the machine. MS is already running into this. If they do make their own tablet, they get small return because they are competing against everyone who isn't Apple. Apple seems to be the only company able to command a decent return on investment.

HP's problem can be seen in their printers right now. We recently bought an HP - P4515. Feels and looks like a flimsy piece of shit. We moved our old HP 8150 to my boss's office for her personal printer. The thing is built like tank, built to last. It has to be well over 10 years old, I doubt the P4515 will make it beyond 5. And there's the problem, they are now building crap to compete with every low cost printer out there, yet if they build something of quality, it never dies. Printers are not like PCs where new features can still drive the upgrade cycle.

Given the limited functions of pads that customers seem to care about, there's not going to be much of an upgrade cycle. Ma and Pa Kettle might buy a new pad, but they are not going to buy one every 3 years. So even Apple will have to invent a new high growth market. The only out I see is if business decides it wants a more capable pad, but then most of us big machines already and a pad does not solve any problem we have.

Re:Fangirl (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312046)

Bring out a 2011 equivalent of the HP/Compaq TC1100 (an old tablet which the iPad was compared to on a hardware-spec-equivalency basis when it was released), and I will buy it.

Re:Fangirl (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314402)

The TC1100 series is a sturdier business-orientated convertable tablet pc, it was thinner and with pen but no touch. On the upside, this resulted in better screen quality, because the touch panel on the tx series has a fine mesh obscuring the screen.

The only reason I wouldnt want the 2011 model is the lack of graphics card present in the tx series.

As for making one and selling it to you, I would if I could but hp havent contacted me regarding their pc division yet.

well, obviously... (3, Insightful)

catbutt (469582) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311174)

...they should open source it and let another organization do something with it. Mozilla would be a prime candidate, since that's basically what they did with the remains of netscape.

WebOS has a lot going for it, in the sense that its main API is based on Javascript/Html5, which lends itself well to being opened up. Android may be open source, but building it on java resulted in it being less than open.

Re:well, obviously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37312116)

my thoughts exactly... I've felt this for a while.

Saw this on Craigslist China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311352)

[translation]

For sale: Personal Computer division of large company. Some minor blemishes to brand. OS, software, and related non-hardware IP not included.

Who cares? (2)

ka9dgx (72702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311466)

Since HP is no longer making computers, who cares which software division this moves in to?
They won't have anything to bundle it with, and thus no way to trick new users into existence.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37319234)

Why does everyone think HP is not making computers? They're considering selling the business unit or spinning it off. Computers are still being built and sold.. and will continue to be until and probably after a decision has actually been made. Granted, I'm not sure who wants to buy computers from a vendor considering an exit... so it may become somewhat of a self fulfilling prophecy yet.

What next? More HP blunders ahead. (1)

mevets (322601) | more than 2 years ago | (#37311558)

HP have a long history of blunders. They are a bit like Shark Tank, but backwards. They embrace the dogs and bury the gems.

The more recent meltdown has put WebOS in some mighty fine company - presuming HP continues destroying it.

Re:What next? More HP blunders ahead. (1)

lastx33 (2097770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37314146)

I posted this some time ago on the HP Calculator Museum forum and I think it still stands - It sadly reminds me of a once great British brand, GEC, built up over decades by the single-minded and famously penny concious Arnold Weinstock up to become Britain's largest and most profitable diversified technology company and a world leader in many fields. GEC succumbed to short-termist profit demands from gung-ho management and institutional shareholders. They saw in the 1990s, high profit margins from their telecommunications divisions, mainly due the expansion of the internet and subsequent dot-com boom. They decided this would be their "core business" and divested themselves of all the other divisions of the company which at that point were less profitable. They renamed the company "Marconi" and for a couple of years were popular investment due to high dividends. When the dot-com bubble burst and the telecoms equipment market went flat they had nothing to fall back on and within 10 years of being the largest conglomerate in the UK, they went bust. The old GEC was able to trade on its reputation for innovative, quality products and its wide portfolio of product types from components to systems allowed them access to the majority of markets and to cross-sell products. Further, the company's size allowed them to recruit in quantity the best engineers and designers who would then cross-fertilise ideas and solutions, even between separate businesses within the group. The parallels with HP are compelling and sad for me as we seem to learn nothing from historical errors of management. Is a time when enterprises and governments worldwide are reducing spending the right time to put all your eggs in the basket of enterprise level computers and software? Especially when an upturn in the market doesn't seem to be in near sight. When a company has invested heavily in acquiring a software platform (WebOS) which has a number of advantages over the market leaders and then further invested in providing an excellent tablet and phone platform for it, is it wise to withdraw the product 2 months after launch? It all comes down to short-term profit from a quick sale of businesses and instant cash injections resulting in large management bonuses. It is this greed and near-sightedness which is a fatal flaw in our current market system. I do hope that the HP name survives as it is a brand with a tradition to be proud of and of course I think it would be a crying shame if the last maker of RPN calculators were to cease production. I can't help but feel pessimistic though. The rot started with outsourcing in the 1990s after John Young retired. I think Bill and Dave will be turning in their graves.

What's the fuss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311610)

HP said it was going to keep WebOS and divest PC/touchpad/phone hardware, so that just seems a sensible step in that direction: move the part it's keeping out from under the part it's getting rid of.

OS&T (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37311680)

Don't read too much into this. Every business unit has to go somewhere in the org chart, and OS&T is sometimes used as a place to park BU's in transition.

black hole or maybe just nutso (3, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312038)

HP seems to have become akin to a black hole (or Galactus), devouring other companies and permanently destroying them in the process. OK, it was Compaq that engulfed DEC, but then HP engulfed Compaq. Now it has done the same to 3Com, Palm, and even its own industry-leading microcomputer division seems destined for the singularity.

Definitely part of the problem here is Léo Apotheker, the guy currently in charge of the trainwreck that is HP. I like the commentary quoted in the NY Times [nytimes.com] that likens him to hypothetical former Boeing exec taking over Ford, then announcing that Ford was going to make planes instead.

Re:black hole or maybe just nutso (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312164)

Weren't each of those companies circling the drain when they were taken over? Shame about Palm though. If they had made a 7in Palm Vx it would have beat the Kindle to the market by 5 years or so as an ereading device? With Indiglo!

Re:black hole or maybe just nutso (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312492)

I like the commentary quoted in the NY Times [nytimes.com] that likens him to hypothetical former Boeing exec taking over Ford, then announcing that Ford was going to make planes instead.

Nah. It's been done. [countdowntokittyhawk.com]

Retro is big these days. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313476)

Perhaps there's a niche for the Ford TriMotor?

Re:black hole or maybe just nutso (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312626)

So now, HP just needs to merge with Yahoo...

Re:black hole or maybe just nutso (2)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313798)

Actually it was more like compaq engufled HP. They got a shitload of managers in who did not understand anything except for selling PC boxes. The entire PaRISC division etc... had to suffer from that other divisions were split apart etc... . Dec was a Compaq victim before.

The modern HP is be what Compaq would have become if they were not bought by HP.

Big problem for WebOS and HP going forward (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312158)

I really liked WebOS, I was always hoping it would come in at least second or third place in the mobile OS space....

The problem I see for WebOS now, is that unless it leaves HP who would buy a new device based on it? How would you be able to trust that HP would not kill it off in a month or two, all over again if it did not sell well?

A WebOS shell atop Android as others have suggested seems possibly like something they might put more backbone into. But then with the PC division going, any new hardware is potentially ballast to the leadership at HP.

fire timothy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37312330)

Taco should have fired him before leaving slashdot.

Smacks of... (3, Insightful)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 2 years ago | (#37312500)

...positioning things so they can sell it off. Move it out of the line organization, into a special headquarters group, then sell it.

Didn't Be Inc. Change Strategies Like This....? (1)

stoicio (710327) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313202)

I only ask this because it seems like the same desperate grasping kind of maneuver.

Incidentally, if HP tanks, who will own the BeOS rights?
ie: Palm bought Be Inc. and then HP bought Palm...

Maybe it's a Be Inc. corporate virus spreading.....
It just infects companies who consume the previously infected 'host' .

Re:Didn't Be Inc. Change Strategies Like This....? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37313256)

HP does not own BeOS.

Palm sold BeOS to Access Co before HP became involved.
BeOS rights now belong to Access Co

I know! VMS (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#37313806)

The webos shell would make a great UI for VMS.

no big surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37316788)

no real big surprise -- Microsoft spun off a bunch of Windows people in 1992 to create the MOS group when the Internet went public. The old days, when Billg would say, OS/2 or Windows, nix OS/2 and focus on Windows; a 180 degree turn, and a 90 degree turn.

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