Just 16 months after announcing the acquisition of Palm, HP has said today that it will “discontinue operations for webOS devices.” What this means for existing stock of the slow-selling TouchPad and the brand new Pre 3 is unclear, but the company does say that it will “continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward” — not exactly rosy language for webOS’ future as a consumer platform. In fact, it seems like a strong possibility that HP is done with webOS altogether — it’d be an odd play to keep it relegated to printers and the enterprise side of the business if it’s not going to be involved on the device side. Licensing to third parties remains a possibility, but we haven’t heard anything on that front.
Ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd famously said in the wake of the Palm acquisition that it hadn’t bought webOS “to be in the smartphone business,” and it’d seem he’s finally gotten his way — though it would seem that his dream of deploying webOS on countless other HP devices ranging from printers to PCs would be in dire jeopardy at best.
In fact — as reported earlier — HP is looking at “strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group” up to and including a spinoff. PSG includes the company’s desktops, laptops, hard drives, and webOS products, so this basically confirms HP’s intent to get out of the hardware game and move in the direction of software and services.
Needless to say, this makes the upcoming earnings call much more interesting, so be sure to stick around for our liveblog. See the full press release after the break.