Whitman: HP Decision On WebOS Assets Coming In Two Weeks8:56 PM EST Wed. Nov. 30, 2011
Hewlett Packard expects to decide on the future of its WebOS software assets in two weeks' time, CEO Meg Whitman said Wednesday in an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro.
Whitman, who gave the keynote earlier this week at HP Discover in Vienna, told Le Figaro that the WebOS decision is a difficult one because it stands to impact the remaining 600 employees in the WebOS business unit.
HP confirmed WebOS employee layoffs in September but didn't offer a number, although sources told All Things Digital at the time that 525 staffers were let go. HP shuttered its WebOS hardware business in October.
In a company meeting on Nov. 8, Whitman told employees that HP needed more time to figure out what to do with WebOS, and that any plan to keep it would unfold "in a very significant way over a multi-year period".
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that HP was in talks with a potential suitor on a WebOS deal in the "hundreds of millions of dollars" neighborhood. Since HP put WebOS on the block in August, the rumored list of interested acquirers has included Oracle, Amazon, HTC, Samsung and Facebook.
HP acquired WebOS in April in its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm. HP had grand plans for WebOS, declaring that it would run not only on tablets, but also on Windows PCs, home appliances, printers and a range of other devices.
In July, Stephen DeWitt, head of the WebOS business unit, told CRN that WebOS could potentially impact a "universe of devices."
HP was also in the process of getting partners to build WebOS development practices when it decided to pull the plug.
Meanwhile, Whitman also told Le Figaro that HP's decision in October to retain its Personal Systems Group involved the participation of 100 people split into two teams, with one team exploring reasons for selling it and the other on reasons for keeping it.