Hewlitt-Packard acquired Palm in August of 2010 for $1.2 billion. Palm was in dire straights after lackluster sales of their PalmPre line of smart phones – famously intended to be an “iPhone killer” – left the already struggling company on even shakier ground. HP, which was itself in somewhat of a difficult position, brought WebOS to a line of HP phones and tablets. Then, just three months ago, HP abruptly announced that it was discontinuing its like of WebOS-based hardware and possibly spinning off its computer business into a separate company. Despite assertions to the contrary from HP, WebOS was widely regarded as dead and buried.
In that respect, then, Whitman’s statement comes as something of a surprise, as it hints that the company apparently still has plans for WebOS, or for a successor operating system. What plans they may have for any such OS are anyone’s guess. Unless they also intend to restart their phone or tablet business, they will likely be short of hardware on which to put it, unless they look for another manufacturer to partner with.
Speculation abounds on Twitter that HP’s plan is to sell WebOS, possibly to Amazon.
webOS decision in two weeks? Amazon must have moved into the due diligence phase then.
Another Twitter user suggests that Apple might acquire the software and fold it into iOS somehow.
@techinsidr I wouldn’t shock me if $AAPL grabbed WebOS from $HPQ, if the price were low enough, webOS roots from Apple it could enhance iOS.
While one user speculates that HP will sell off WebOS in order to make room for a line of Android tablets.
The question remains, however, whether any move HP makes will be enough to save the beleaguered company. We will continue to watch the situation, and update you when HP makes their plans known.