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Posted at 05:11 PM ET, 08/18/2011

HP kills WebOS devices after poor sales

The HP TouchPad, made by Hewlett-Packard, is now history, less than two months after its launch. (DAVID PAUL MORRIS/BLOOMBERG)
There was big news from HP today, as the company officially announced a rumored acquisition, revealed lower-than-expected earnings, shared plans to spin off its PC group and dropped the bombshell that it’s ending operations on its WebOS devices.

“The devices have not met internal milestones and financial targets,” the company said in its earnings release Thursday.

That spells doom for HP and Palm phones such as the Veer and Pre smartphones as well as the new HP TouchPad.

The company had dramatically slashed the price of its tablet just a little under two months after its release, but continued to be dogged by poor sales. All Things Digital reported Wednesday that Best Buy had asked HP to take back unsold TouchPad units.

As for WebOs, the software platform initially developed by Palm, HP said that it will “continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

The company said it’s undertaking an entirely new strategy to “fundamentally transform the company.” Part of that is seemingly ending its solo push into the mobile space — another component is the company’s announcement that it’s exploring separating from its PC unit “through spin-off or other transaction.” HP merged with Compaq in 2002 in an effort to become full-service computer manufacturer.

HP also formalized its intention to acquire Autonomy, a UK-based software giant, HP President and Chief Executive officer Léo Apotheker said in a statement. “Autonomy presents an opportunity to accelerate our strategic vision to decisively and profitably lead a large and growing space.”

Related stories:

Report: Hewlett-Packard to spin off PC business, buy software company

HP slashes TouchPad price for the weekend

HP TouchPad gets mixed early reviews

By  |  05:11 PM ET, 08/18/2011

Tags:  Mobile, Tablet, Gadgets

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