HP to split up WebOS business, report says

Hewlett-Packard will send the WebOS software business to the Office of Strategy and Technology, according to a report.

Hewlett-Packard will break up its WebOS business, sending the software component to a different part of the company, according to a report Saturday at PreCentral.net.

HP's Palm phone. The hardware business will be absorbed by HP's Personal Systems Group, according to a report.
HP's Palm phone. The hardware business will be absorbed by HP's Personal Systems Group, according to a report. Hewlett-Packard

The company that was formerly Palm will split, reporting to separate divisions of HP, according to the report. This comes after HP announced during its August 18 earnings call that it was shuttering its WebOS hardware business , which includes its TouchPad tablet and Palm Pre phone.

WebOS, which HP has not terminated, will be pushed over to HP's Office of Strategy and Technology (OS&T) and report to Executive Vice President Shane Robinson, the report claimed, citing internal memos from Robinson and Todd Bradley, head of the Personal Systems Group (PSG).

"The WebOS platform...continues to demonstrate its ability to improve how our customers look up information, access entertainment, and stay connected on the go," Bradley wrote in a memo cited in the PreCentral report. "With our focus on business and technology strategy, OS&T will be able to provide these teams with the resources and support they need as we define the best monetization model," Robinson said in a memo included in the report.

The hardware division, which HP has said it will terminate, will stay under the PSG, reporting to Stephen DeWitt.

The report speculates that extracting the software component from the PC-centric Personal Systems Group will allow HP to proceed with spinning off that business. That business, if spun off, is expected to be headed up by Todd Bradley, according to Bob O'Donnell, an analyst at IDC.

Though HP would not comment directly on the report, a representative told CNET today that "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."

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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