Report: HP Reshuffles Management Of WebOS Software Assets

Over the weekend, the enthusiast blog reported that HP is moving its WebOS software engineering, developer relations and software product marketing teams into its Office of Strategy and Technology division (OS&T), under Shane Robison, executive vice president and chief strategy and technology officer.

Ari Jaaksi, senior vice president in charge of WebOS software engineering, and Richard Kerris, vice president leading WebOS worldwide developer relations, will report to Robison. Lee Ott, senior director of WebOS software product marketing, will report to Jaaksi, according to the report.

Stephen DeWitt, head of HP's WebOS business unit, will continue managing what's left of the WebOS team. Robison and Todd Bradley, executive vice president of PSG, announced the changes -- which are effective immediately -- in two separate purported internal HP e-mails sent to employees over the weekend, which were re-published by

However, HP has yet to officially confirm the changes, and a spokesperson told CRN the company is still trying to figure out what to do with its WebOS software assets.

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"HP has said it will discontinue development of webOS hardware in Q4 2011 and is evaluating options to optimize the value of the software platform. We are currently working through that process," an HP spokesperson said Tuesday in an e-mailed statement.

In explaining HP's decision to move WebOS software into OS&T, Bradley pointed to the group's track record of developing emerging technologies and noted that it's currently incubating HP Cloud Services, Vertica and Business Solutions.

"In fact, [OS&T] has proven to be a successful incubator of technologies; it is home to a team of senior technology experts devoted exclusively to exploring longer-term strategies for our technologies," Bradley said in the e-mail.

Despite killing off its TouchPad tablet and Pre3 and Veer smartphones, HP executives have said in no uncertain terms that they still see a future for WebOS. "The WebOS is not dead,” DeWitt told Bloomberg last month. "We’re going to continue to evolve it, update and support it. We stand by it."

HP's TouchPad has enjoyed far more popularity since being discontinued than it ever did during its six weeks on store shelves: HP's $99 TouchPad fire sale triggered a feeding frenzy that has yet to subside, and the company last week said it's gearing up for one final production run to meet unfulfilled demand.

Meanwhile, HP is also exploring a potential spin-off or sale of PSG, and HP executives have been reaching out to channel partners to assure them that a spun-off PSG would still continue to dominate the PC industry.