HP Holding All-Hands Meeting Tonight on WebOS Future
The story has just taken yet another twist as an anonymous tipster has revealed to Precentral.net that an all-hands meeting of the WebOS GBU has been called at Palm's Sunnyvale HQ. According to the report, HP's newly-appointed CEO Meg Whitman and current SVP Jon Rubinstein will both be in attendance, a move that some are speculating is a harbinger of some potentially positive news. Of course, HP may also simply decide to shutter all WebOS-related operations.
Q: What will you do with your operating system webOS?
A: We should announce our decision in the next two weeks. This is not an easy decision, because we have a team of 600 people which is in limbo. We need to have another operating system.
HP Holding All-Hands Meeting Tonight on WebOS Future
This offer is set to begin November 1st, and will be available through Bestbuy.com and all brick and mortar retail stores nationwide. No word on the quantity of units available for this promotion or an effective end date for the promotion, though speculation is running rampant that these TouchPads are part of the "final batch" of TouchPads promised back in August.
With yesterday's announcement that HP intends to keep its PC division, unconfirmed internal memos reportedly claim that there is a 95% likelihood that the end of WebOS as an operating and as a part of HP's portfolio is in sight.
Sporadic rumors continue to swirl about possible suitors for HP's Palm and WebOS-related IP, namely yesterday's report that Sony CEO Sir Howard Stringer responded with "Never say never" in regards to an inquiry about acquiring WebOS from HP.
Meg Whitman, HP's newly-appointed president and CEO stated:
"HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG. It's clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees," "HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger."
Of course, seeing as how WebOS and the Palm Global Business Unit fall under this division of HP, Executive Vice President of the PSG Todd Bradley said that HP is committed to WIndows 7 and 8-based tablets going forward and are still working to make a decision about "the long-term future of WebOS within HP over the next couple of months".
Kerris will not be alone at Nokia, as former Palm VP of Design Peter Skillman has been with Nokia since September of 2010.
"We are fortunate to have someone of Meg Whitman's caliber and experience step up to lead HP," said HP Board Director Ray Lane. "We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead. Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities. Furthermore, as a member of HP's board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets."
"As communicated on August 18, HP will discontinue the development of webOs devices within the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, which ends Oct. 31, 2011," an HP spokesperson told AllThingsD. "As part of this decision, the webOS GBU is undergoing a reduction in workforce."
Another interesting bit of info from the DigiTimes article cites an Inventec source in stating that that the smaller 7-inch TouchPad "Go/Opal" has indeed been abandoned and no units will be produced. Today's update comes on the heels of another DigiTimes article from Tuesday that reported HP's suppliers in Taiwan (including ODM Inventec) are sitting on various components for approximately 100,000 7-inch TouchPads that were originally slated to begin production at the end of this quarter. It is highly unlikely at this point that a production-ready 7" TouchPad will ever see the light of day, unlike the more established 9.7" versions.
Most surprising of all, according to HP's Mark Budgell's post today, is that HP has been so "pleasantly surprised" by the flurry of excitement online and in retail stores over the TouchPad that they have given in to the overwhelming response of the market and decided to produce one final batch of new devices. There is no indication as to how many units qualify as a "run" nor any specifics about color, storage capacity, or CPU speed.
Unfortunately, PowerPoint presentations remain read-only, but two out of three is certainly a huge improvement for frustrated WebOS users. The new version of QuickOffice HD is a free download in the App Catalog for TouchPad users and, as mentioned earlier this month, a paid version with editing capabilities is promised down the road for WebOS smartphones users.
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