In a shocking move, Hewlett-Packard will deep-six its nascent WebOS TouchPad and phone efforts. You know, all the “hot” new products it touted at its annual Americas Partner Conference That was five months ago.
In a statement (via BusinessWire) HP confirmed earlier reports that it was talking to Autonomy Corp. PLC about buying that UK-based search company. HP also said it will “discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward. ”
This is a remarkable reverse and further signals that Mark Hurd’s HP is in the rearview mirror. Hurd engineered the $1.2 billion buyout of Palm in April 2010. Yes, that is just over a year ago.
According to the statement HP will also explore “strategic alternatives” for its Personal Systems Group or PSG. Said options might include “a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction.”
Needless to say partner anxiety over this news was off the choice. HP has long encouraged its VAR partners to “double down” to carry as many of HP’s product lines as possible. As a result the most loyal HP partners sell servers and networking into the data cneter, as well as laptops and desktop machines. Several bought fully into HP’s heavily hyped TouchPad effort.
HP launched the TouchPad with much fanfare, and it garnered some good reviews, but even fans thought HP pricing was too high. It subsequently slashed prices.
These partners–many of whom remain unconvinced about HP CEO Leo Apotheker’s vision– now worry that all their investment will go for naught.
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