HP Kills Off WebOS

Well, that didn’t take long. HP launched their WebOS era back in June with their TouchPad and now in mid-August they have made the decision to kill both the TouchPad and the WebOS software. Amazing.

TechCrunch offers this:

 That’s what so jarring about today’s news: HP just did a full stop and then a 180 before our very eyes. Apple and IBM both resurrected themselves in recent years, but each did it in opposite ways. The Apple plan didn’t work for HP, Apotheker decided. He now clearly believes the IBM plan will. […]

So where does all of this leave webOS? The TouchPad is dead. The Pre sleeps with the fishes. HP seems to be open to all options including licensing out webOS for others to use. But the simplest solution will probably end up being the one they go with: a sale of webOS to some other entity that can actually use it. HP VP Richard Kerris made this option pretty clear in a tweet today.

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Something else to consider: when HP bought Palm for $1.2 billion last year, the world was a different place. These days, companies are paying $4.5 billion for a group of patents. Google is paying $12.5 billion for Motorola, a large portion is which is also for patents. Along with Palm and webOS, HP got Palm’s 1,500+ patents last year, as they emphasized to us at the time of the sale.

If those patents are as important in the mobile space as some believe, they alone could be worth more than the $1.2 billion Palm sale price now. If HP can flip those for north of that price, the whole acquisition won’t look like nearly as much of a disaster as it does right now.

But the big picture item of today remains what HP is no longer doing: making Post-PC devices or even PCs themselves. In less than the span of a year, the biggest PC maker in the world realized not only that they couldn’t be Apple, but that they couldn’t even compete with Apple. And they admitted it. And called the fight. It was a first-round T.K.O.

Pretty incredible turn of events. This week with Google buying Motorola and HP abandoning WebOS and their PC division. It’s Apple’s world, everyone just lives in it.

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