HP CEO Meg Whitman said a final decision will be made on what the company will do with webOS within the next two weeks. This won’t be like the last time she said they’ll make a decision on webOS, I’m guessing.
Asked by a French newspaper about when the company will make a decision on the mobile platform, Whitman reportedly said, “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.”
The history of webOS is filled with unfulfilled potential, as the platform offered unique user interaction metaphors and was one of the first to actually utilize the cloud for its Synergy contacts feature. It never wound up on a mega-hit handset or device though and HP’s decision to buy Palm and then kill webOS has reportedly cost it more than $3 billion dollars. While it still retains some mobile patents and some talent, that’s pretty much $3 billion down the drain.
When HP decided to pivot toward enterprise services, it probably made sense to sell off its personal computing group and to kill webOS. Now that HP will stay in the personal computing game, having a mobile platform of its own would still be advantageous but you have to wonder if it’s too late for webOS. While we’ll see rumors of HTC or Amazon trying to buy it, I still believe that HP should open source the platform and essentially cut ties with it.