The Washington Post

The Circuit: HP kills WebOS devices, Sprint may be weighing Clearwire deal, PROTECT IP to cost $47M

LEADING THE DAY: Hewlett-Packard is starting a dramatic transformation of its business operations with three huge announcements: The company is exploring a plan to spin off its PC business, acquiring European software giant Autonomy and stopping production on all WebOS hardware. The company is pulling its focus from consumer technology and turning to its enterprise business in a move many see as indicative of a shift into the post-PC era.

WebOS is the operating system developed by Palm, which HP acquired in 2010. On July 1, HP launched its WebOS-based TouchPad tablet as a competitor to Apple’s iPad, but the product failed to gain traction in the market — even after two successive price cuts. Cathy Lesjak, HP’s CFO, said during Thursday’s earnings call that WebOS would have required significant investments over the next five years and that the risks of continuing it far outweighed the possible rewards. The company will continue with WebOS software and is possibly looking to license it, chief executive Leo Apotheker said on the call.

Sprint reportedly looking at Clearwire buyout: Sprint might be looking at a total buyout of Clearwire, Bloomberg reported, citing three unnamed “people familiar with the talks.” The companies are already partners in creating Sprint’s 4G WiMax network, though Clearwire announced an intention this month to add LTE to its Network.

Sprint and LightSquared announced a 15-year LTE agreement for 4G wholesale and 3G roaming late last month.

CBO says PROTECT IP comes with $47M price tag: A report from the Congressional Budget Office published Tuesday found that implementing the PROTECT IP act will cost taxpayers $47 million over the 2012-2016 period. The costs, the office reported, would come from the need to hire 48 additional staffers to enact the provisions in the bill, which allows the government to essentially blacklist Web sites that are seen as infringing upon copyright.

The agency did not estimate the costs for the private sector, saying it had “no basis for estimating the number of claims that would be filed in the future in the absence of this legislation or the level of potential damage awards in such cases, if any.”

RIM sale value up?: After Google’s surprise acquisition of Motorola Mobility earlier this week, one firm’s analysis suggests that Research in Motion’s sale value is up 100 percent, Bloomberg reported. The report cited an estimate from Morgan Keegan & Co., which estimated the RIM may be worth $25 billion. There has been speculation that Google’s entry into the mobile hardware space may tempt a company such as Microsoft or Samsung to purchase RIM to create a larger, unified hardware and software business.

Kaspersky says “Shady RAT” is nothing big: CEO Eugene Kaspersky of the Kapsersky security firm said in a blog post that the “Shady RAT” attacks against the U.S. government outlined in a recent MacAfee report were not novel, and that his company does “not share the concerns surrounding the intrusion described in the report.”

Calling the report “Shoddy RAT,” Kaspersky said that attack was not sophisticated, doesn’t appear to have been backed by a single state, and doesn’t deserve much attention.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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