HP has just announced that Meg Whitman will be taking over as CEO and Leo Apotheker will be leaving after running the ship for less than a year. It’s unclear what role, if any, Whitman has for webOS in HP’s future.
There’s a conference call in about half an hour where HP will discuss the move and we’re hoping to hear what Whitman has to say. Whitman, a former CEO of eBay and a losea in a California gubernatorial race, should hopefully bring some stability to a very rocky HP.
“We are fortunate to have someone of Meg Whitman’s caliber and experience step up to lead HP,” said HP Chairman of the Board Ray Lane in a prepared statement. “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.”
HP spent more than $1 billion to acquire Palm and webOS in 2010 under the leadership of Mark Hurd and the move was thought to give the company more control over its own destiny in personal computing because it would now own the hardware and software. Hurd was ousted shortly after when some unsavory allegations came up and Apotheker took over.
Apotheker wanted the company to move toward a cloud-service solutions business aimed at enterprises and he effectively killed webOS after the release of the Veer 4G and the TouchPad. The flagship webOS handset, the Pre 3, never even got to the U.S. market and he strongly intimated that the personal computing division would be sold.
Rumors persist that HP will sell of license webOS to other handset makers but it’s not clear what Whitman’s take on it will be. WebOS has a very, very faint chance of rising from the dead. Again.