Earlier this month a pair of HP memos surfaced saying that the world’s largest PC maker is going to split the Palm team. The software folks will join the Office of Strategy and Technology under Shane Robison, while the hardware guys would join Stephen DeWitt in the Personal Systems Group that we’re all expecting to either be spun off or sold. Today HP announced that they’re going to lay off some webOS people, and “sources close to the company” have told The Wall Street Journal that the number of people who will have to find a new job will be somewhere around 525. Here’s the exact wording an HP spokesperson used:
“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. As part of this decision, the webOS GBU is undergoing a reduction in workforce. Today’s actions are part of this initiative. During this time, we stand by our commitment to our webOS customers and will work to ensure that support and service for customers are not adversely affected. HP is exploring ways to leverage webOS software.”
This news doesn’t really come as a surprise, and frankly, while we know it’s a bit mean spirited to celebrate someone losing their job, the hardware folks at Palm made some incredibly questionable decisions in terms of materials and design that made many folks turn away from Palm’s new software before even giving it a chance. HP could have hired some new hardware people … but nope, they decided to just give up on Palm. That “exploring ways to leverage webOS software” line is nothing more than corporate speak for “we need to recoup some of our investments”, which in all likelihood will mean selling webOS to an interested party.
Who that company is? We have no idea.