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HP's WebOS Enyo team reportedly heading to Google

Central force behind development of the OS that powered HP's TouchPad is going to Google, according to a report on The Verge.

Google seems to be cornering the market on open-source operating systems.

The Web giant will soon be welcoming into its fold the Hewlett-Packard team responsible for creating Enyo, the HTLM5-based application framework for WebOS that debuted on the failed TouchPad, according to a report on The Verge. However, what they will be doing at Google remains a mystery.

Enyo is central to the development of WebOS, which was in limbo until HP decided to open source the operating system last December. The mobile platform was thought dead after then-CEO Leo Apotheker announced during an earnings call last August that the company would discontinue operations for WebOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and WebOS phones. His proposal was to transform the company from a consumer-electronics product manufacturer to a business-class software and consulting services provider.

However, the unit's fate has been up in the air since the company's board ousted Apotheker in September and replaced him with Meg Whitman, the former chief executive at eBay. Whitman put many of Apotheker's decisions on ice, ultimately deciding to release to developers the code, for which HP paid $1.2 billion when it bought Palm, and then evaluate what relevance it had among developers.

Now it appears that that strategy has evaporated for HP, along with 27,000 other jobs. What Google will do with the team could prove useful in building a Web runtime for Android or perhaps an app development framework for Chrome.

Update, May 25, 7:15 p.m. PT: The Enyo team issued a statement Friday saying, "It's true that some key members of the Enyo team have left the company, but the majority of the engineering and leadership team remains." Here's the complete text of that statement:

We'd like to clarify some of the news reports you may have read today about Enyo.

It's true that some key members of the Enyo team have left the company, but the majority of the engineering and leadership team remains. We want to reassure you that we're thrilled with the traction Enyo has gained to date and are redoubling our efforts to continue development, working closely with the community.

The core of Enyo 2 is solid. We're hearing great things from developers about the performance improvements in the last release, and we have another release on the way. After that, we'll focus on expanding the Onyx widget set. We've enlisted the support of the developer relations engineers you know and love to help out as we work on growing the team.

That's right, we're growing. As we said earlier this month, we're hiring -- not just to replace the engineers who have left, but to increase the size of the team going forward. If you would like to contribute to the success of Enyo (and get paid for it) please let us know. And of course, all are welcome to contribute to the code by making GitHub pull requests.

Our door is open; if you have any concerns, feel free to voice them in the Enyo forums. We're always listening and will do our best to address your questions. We'll also be out in person at next week's O'Reilly Fluent Conference in San Francisco, and at HP Discover in Las Vegas the following week -- we'd love to see you there.