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HP near decision on WebOS group, report says

Company plans all-hands meeting that may reveal whether it will sell or spin off the group, sources tell AppleInsider.

Hewlett-Packard is expected to decide the fate of its embattled WebOS business this week, according to an AppleInsider report.

The company plans to hold a companywide meeting tomorrow where it may reveal whether it will sell or spin off the group, according to the report, which cited unidentified people familiar with the company's plans.

HP representatives declined to comment on the report.

Then-CEO Leo Apotheker announced during an August earnings call that the company would discontinue operations for WebOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and WebOS phones. The HP Touchpad then became a runaway bestseller that month when HP dramatically slashed prices on its remaining TouchPad inventory, and retailers quickly sold out of stock.

The decision on what to do with the unit has been up in the air since the company's board ousted Apotheker and replaced him with former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

With its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm in July 2010, HP had a mobile operating system of its own and was suddenly relevant in the smartphone industry. However, despite critical praise, the operating system failed to gain traction in the crowded mobile OS market.

One potential suitor for WebOS could be Facebook, which now sees nearly half of its 800 million members logging in via mobile devices.