Jon Rubinstein, Hewlett-Packard's chief evangelist for WebOS and one of Silicon Valley's most renowned engineers, has left the company, HP confirmed Friday.
Rubinstein, known as the father of the Apple iPod, started his career at HP in the mid-1980s and was CEO of Palm when HP acquired the company for $1.2 billion in July 2010. When he rejoined HP, Rubinstein made a 12- to 24-month commitment to stay at the company, and he has helped deliver a number of key products since then, an HP spokesperson told CRN.
Rubinstein has no future plans to work elsewhere at this time, according to the HP spokesperson. "Jon has fulfilled his commitment to HP and we wish him well," the spokesperson said.
Rubinstein's role at HP has been murky since last July, when he was moved out of the company's mobile devices unit and appointed senior vice president of product innovation in HP's Personal Systems Group. In the meantime, HP has discontinued the TouchPad, shut down its WebOS hardware business and decided to open source WebOS and the Enyo framework.
HP CEO Meg Whitman, in an interview earlier this week at HP's Palo Alto, Calif.-based headquarters, acknowledged that these developments haven't created an ideal situation for Rubinstein, who led the development of WebOS and remains its staunchest advocate.
"I've got a lot of respect for Jon. But as you know, Palm didn't work out the way he had hoped. Obviously, the [TouchPad] tablets didn’t work out the way he had hoped. That team has been through a lot, as you might imagine," Whitman said.
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