Is HP to Abandon Web OS Business After $1.8B Aquisition?

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After doing a backflip with their PC business HP is looking to either sell or if unsuccessful in finding a buyer close down their Web OS business which they inherited when they acquired Palm for $1.2B 18 months ago.The Guardian newspaper in the UK claims HP is to shut down its webOS division, and make the staff there redundant or shift them elsewhere inside the company. That could mean losses of up to 500 jobs as the business which created the short-lived HP TouchPad and smartphones is closed.

HP’s Personal Systems Group head Todd Bradley in an interview over the weekend shot down the rumour that the company would end its webOS division entirely. The executive told Bloomberg it was an “unfounded rumor” and that the company was swinging its evaluation to the OS after deciding to keep PCs. There was “phenomenal software and phenomenal talent” that just needed to be put to the right purposes, he said.

What that involved wasn’t mentioned. HP has so far ruled out a return to webOS mobile hardware.

The dramatic reverse comes in a statement on its website, where HP says that the “continued combination of HP and its Personal Systems Group [is] expected to deliver greater customer and shareholder value”.

“HP objectively evaluated the strategic, financial and operational impact of spinning off PSG. It’s clear after our analysis that keeping PSG within HP is right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees,” said Meg Whitman, HP president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “HP is committed to PSG, and together we are stronger.”

As of yesterday’s announcement, the company was officially stating that the operating system’s future was undecided, but the Guardian understands the end of the road is imminent.

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