HP To Decide Fate of WebOS

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The fate of WebOS will be announced by Hewlitt-Packard sometime in the next two week, says company head Meg Whitman in an interview with French news site Le Figaro (Google Translation). In a discussion about the future of HP as a whole, especially in response to reports that name Apple the worlds leading computer manufacturer, Whitman stressed that the decision was a difficult one, as the jobs of 600 people hung in the balance. But, she said, “we need a new operating system.”

Meg Whitman CEO of HP

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. 2 hours ago via web · powered by @socialditto

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. 26 minutes ago via HootSuite · powered by @socialditto

While one user speculates that HP will sell off WebOS in order to make room for a line of Android tablets.

HP might toss WebOS and go for Android? Because that's been SO successful in the tablet market... http://t.co/K4ppaeLS 27 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone · powered by @socialditto

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.

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