Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
HP Businesses Operating Systems

HP Moves WebOS From PC Group: What Next? 70

Posted by timothy
from the management-usually-has-the-upper-outhouse dept.
GMGruman writes "Over the weekend, HP execs posted statements announcing the transfer of WebOS from the PC group that produced the now-killed TouchPad tablet and other mobile devices to HP's Office of Strategy and Technology. Is that a new lifeline for WebOS? Or, as analyst Trip Chowdhry suggested, is WebOS a pawn in a Shakespearean corporate game by HP CEO Léo Apotheker?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

HP Moves WebOS From PC Group: What Next?

Comments Filter:
  • New Theory: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday September 05, 2011 @05:50PM (#37311074) Journal
    As best I can tell, HP's actions at this point can be most accurately modeled by assuming that somebody accidentally let an Eliza chatbot into an MBA program, and then handed it the reins...
  • Rumors (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mensa Babe (675349) * on Monday September 05, 2011 @05:55PM (#37311096) Homepage Journal

    Well, according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], HP's Office of Strategy and Technology has four main functions: (1) steering the company's $3.6 billion research and development investment, (2) fostering the development of the company's global technical community, (3) leading the company's strategy and corporate development efforts, and (4) performing worldwide corporate marketing activities. Under this office is HP Labs, the research arm of HP. Founded in 1966, HP Labs's function is to deliver new technologies and to create business opportunities that go beyond HP's current strategies. An example of recent HP Lab technology includes the Memory spot chip. HP IdeaLab further provides a web forum on early-state innovations to encourage open feedback from consumers and the development community.

    It is hard to say at this point what could it mean to WebOS but I've heard rumors about some experiments with Android at HP. Some speculate that HP is thinking about making the WebOS just a thin UI layer on top of Android, just like Mac OS X did with UNIX. It may seem strange at first but after thinking about it for a while it could be the only way that HP could survive in the not so distant future after the Apple-Google war is over and still have original software advantage without the hassle to develop and maintain the entire operating system stack.

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Very nice analysis. The PC is the way backward. A vertically integrated platform where they control the UI is the way forward for HP. So WebOS and PC must split.
    • It is hard to say at this point what could it mean to WebOS but I've heard rumors about some experiments with Android at HP. Some speculate that HP is thinking about making the WebOS just a thin UI layer on top of Android, just like Mac OS X did with UNIX. It may seem strange at first but after thinking about it for a while it could be the only way that HP could survive in the not so distant future after the Apple-Google war is over and still have original software advantage without the hassle to develop and maintain the entire operating system stack.

      Why do HP need an "original software advantage"? I thought they were primarily (apart from necessary propriety drivers for their hardware and storage and cloud solutions, etc of course). I do see that Wikipedia (quoted below) make some statements regarding their software division.

      HP Software Division is the company's enterprise software unit. For years, HP has produced and marketed its brand of enterprise management software, HP OpenView. From September 2005 through 2010, HP purchased a total of 15 software companies between as part of a publicized, deliberate strategy to augment its software offerings for large business customers.[48] HP Software sells three categories of software: IT performance management, IT management software and information management software. HP Software also provides consulting, Software as a service, cloud computing solutions, education and support services.

      But to be honest I didn't think it was a major part of their corporation or revenue. Perhaps I've been living in a cave...

      Is there anyone here that works for a large business customer of HP and used there software?

      (I'm genuinely in

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        But to be honest I didn't think it was a major part of their corporation or revenue. Perhaps I've been living in a cave...

        Is there anyone here that works for a large business customer of HP and used there software?

        (I'm genuinely interested; even though it may sound like a troll that's just because I appear to be ignorant on the subject.)

        I'm interested too. I've also heard that HP is nipping at IBM's heels in the IT consulting business, but I only have HP's word on that, too. I've never heard anyone say, "You know what, screw it, HP's experience and expertise is better than IBM's," and I've never known IBM Global Services to allow itself to be undersold, either (at the signing date, anyway).

        As far as I can tell, HP has been claiming it's a different kind of company than it really is for years and Apotheker, an enterprise software guy, wants

      • by tftp (111690)

        Is there anyone here that works for a large business customer of HP and used there software?

        I worked for one. They bought a bunch of HP notebooks, and they came with HP ProtectTools. It was worse than worthless - it was a typical case of bland corporateware. It also didn't work. You probably don't expect your fingerprint reader to cause BSOD instead of logging you in; but that's how the software worked. In the end the local IT outlawed installation of this software.

        • Thats not their large business corporate software. If you can buy it on a $500 laptop, youre not talking about the same things GP is.

      • by RedK (112790)

        Is there anyone here that works for a large business customer of HP and used there software?

        (I'm genuinely interested; even though it may sound like a troll that's just because I appear to be ignorant on the subject.)

        I do. We use a couple of their different enterpise packages for performance monitoring, centralized printing, backup and of course, clustering and big-iron Unix to run on Integrity boxes.

        Oh, our storage too is based off their XP line-up.

    • by wdef (1050680)

      HP won't be putting WebOS as a layer over anything. WebOS is history without an HP phone/pad platform to ship on.

      Think about it: Android and iOS will rule the mobile/pad world. Android is free and is already dominating the market. Apple's huge strategic coup was to maintain their vertically integrated chimney of sw and hw. People ten years ago kept bleating that Apple was 'wrong' to do this but oh how wrong we all were! Apple not only kept control of hw and sw, they opened their own stores and took

    • by gtall (79522)

      Where's the return on investment for WebOS being a thin UI layer? The UI layer is the layer the customer sees, that's why Apple and MS insist on their own. Why would any company want to turn the UI over someone else unless they were a blackbox maker like Dell. HP presumably wants out of the PC business because the return on investment sucks.

  • 'Tis indeed a drama, but the real telling question is: To whom does the WebOS division/group/team report in the organization?

    The answer to that question often speaks volumes for future plans for a line of business.

    • by msauve (701917)
      "To whom does the WebOS division/group/team report in the organization?"

      The nutcase at the top, obviously.
  • So who exactly would be interested in licensing Web OS?

    • Honestly, I think HP was the only place WebOS could have survived. The only hope WebOS has now is if Leo Gets canned and they get a CEO in there that has a brain. Considering that I though they couldn't hire a CEO worse than Carly and was proven wrong, Fat chance that is going to happen.

      The other buyout options out there for WebOS didn't look much better.

      Nokia: kills all OS'es and Bets the farm on Win7Mobile. Dies due to Idiot CEO.
      Google: Would cannibalize the platform and use it as a patent shield or adopt

      • by bedouin (248624)

        Dunno about Sony. They're trying to get into tablets now (just showed off two new ones the other day) and WebOS combined with the capability of Sony to occasionally make interesting designs would be the only thing making them stand out in the crowd. I mean, it won't happen but in a perfect world . . .

      • The one difference I could see between Apple and Oracle is that Apple might actually bring some WebOS ideas into iOS... not quite sure which ones though, people loved WebOS notifications but Apple use overhauled that. Perhaps some kind of hybrid...

        I can see Apple and/or Microsoft wanting WebOS patents though. It seems like they would be more useful than Motorola patents for the long term.

  • Fangirl (Score:1, Interesting)

    Apple fanboys/girls get their say, no matter how ludicrous on Apple articles and here I am again.

    I am, unashamedly, a "fan" of HP's tx and tm series tablets. They were / are amazing, and some specced almost as good as desktop replacements. I can't believe how HP put no enthusiasm whatsoever behind selling these products, I remember thinking how economies of scale we going to bring me loads more of this type of machine in the years to come, because I couldn't imagine anybody not laptops or tablets not liking

    • Sorry. That post made sense when I wrote it.

      I hereby declare that although I'm too smashed to be posting tonight, I promise that if you persevere, you'll find some good points in my OP. Here are some of the less obvious clarifications-

      "show them to people in an Apple-like shop. Show them folded up playing Angry Birds or use Facebook on the Windows 7 on screen keyboard, then unfold it and compile something.

    • If you've read this far, I salute you.

      I will gratefully assume anybody replying to this has now comprehended my full article (lol).

      There's an extra comma in the first sentence, guesses get points. Also, "I remember thinking how economies of scale were going to bring me loads more of this type of machine in the years to come, because I couldn't imagine anybody who likes laptops or tablets not liking these things."

      Thanks, and sorry again for tonight's post. I shouldn't really post in this state, but my OP is

    • If I liked HP hardware as much as you, and HP did to it what they did, I'd have got pretty hammered too...

      I'm not sure I'm as big a fan of HP hardware, but I certainly was a big fan of WebOS, and really wanted that to succeed. Selling off support to someone who cares as you are talking about makes sense for more than just the PC division.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My suggestion: Spin off the PC business to me, and I'll give you a percentage of my sales. Just keep making upgraded tx- and tm- clones, with the innards to rival current platforms, a range of sizes to match the wallet, and let someone with enthusiasm show them to people in an Apple shop. Show them folded playing Angry Birds or using Facebook with the Win7 on-screen keyboard, the unfold it and compile something.

      Start Maya (on models with graphics card!) and design something with the pen. Use a vector sketch program to demo pressure sensitive pens. Flaming sell the things! All the things I've described would have sold the machine I was using at the time, if I'd wanted to sell it.

      Ah, youthful idealism.

      I know that to you these things seem amazingly cool, and why wouldn't everyone be on board? But no amount of enthusiasm ever sold Windows-based tablets to a wide audience. The reason is simple when you get down to it: they're running a mouse-based OS and mouse-based applications, with a half-assed touch UI clumsily grafted on top. When your software stack is designed from the ground up for mice or other non-finger pointing devices, it really doesn't matter how you design the hardwar

      • by gtall (79522)

        Ditto. There's another headwind working against HP. Hardware is becoming comoditized, so without their own tablet, they cannot license WebOS for very much because otherwise it would swamp the price of the machine. MS is already running into this. If they do make their own tablet, they get small return because they are competing against everyone who isn't Apple. Apple seems to be the only company able to command a decent return on investment.

        HP's problem can be seen in their printers right now. We recently b

    • by tverbeek (457094)

      Bring out a 2011 equivalent of the HP/Compaq TC1100 (an old tablet which the iPad was compared to on a hardware-spec-equivalency basis when it was released), and I will buy it.

      • The TC1100 series is a sturdier business-orientated convertable tablet pc, it was thinner and with pen but no touch. On the upside, this resulted in better screen quality, because the touch panel on the tx series has a fine mesh obscuring the screen.

        The only reason I wouldnt want the 2011 model is the lack of graphics card present in the tx series.

        As for making one and selling it to you, I would if I could but hp havent contacted me regarding their pc division yet.

  • well, obviously... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by catbutt (469582) on Monday September 05, 2011 @06:10PM (#37311174)
    ...they should open source it and let another organization do something with it. Mozilla would be a prime candidate, since that's basically what they did with the remains of netscape.

    WebOS has a lot going for it, in the sense that its main API is based on Javascript/Html5, which lends itself well to being opened up. Android may be open source, but building it on java resulted in it being less than open.
  • by ka9dgx (72702) on Monday September 05, 2011 @07:25PM (#37311466) Homepage Journal

    Since HP is no longer making computers, who cares which software division this moves in to?
    They won't have anything to bundle it with, and thus no way to trick new users into existence.

  • HP have a long history of blunders. They are a bit like Shark Tank, but backwards. They embrace the dogs and bury the gems.

    The more recent meltdown has put WebOS in some mighty fine company - presuming HP continues destroying it.

    • by lastx33 (2097770)
      I posted this some time ago on the HP Calculator Museum forum and I think it still stands - It sadly reminds me of a once great British brand, GEC, built up over decades by the single-minded and famously penny concious Arnold Weinstock up to become Britain's largest and most profitable diversified technology company and a world leader in many fields. GEC succumbed to short-termist profit demands from gung-ho management and institutional shareholders. They saw in the 1990s, high profit margins from their te
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Monday September 05, 2011 @09:26PM (#37312038) Homepage

    HP seems to have become akin to a black hole (or Galactus), devouring other companies and permanently destroying them in the process. OK, it was Compaq that engulfed DEC, but then HP engulfed Compaq. Now it has done the same to 3Com, Palm, and even its own industry-leading microcomputer division seems destined for the singularity.

    Definitely part of the problem here is Léo Apotheker, the guy currently in charge of the trainwreck that is HP. I like the commentary quoted in the NY Times [nytimes.com] that likens him to hypothetical former Boeing exec taking over Ford, then announcing that Ford was going to make planes instead.

    • by taxman_10m (41083)

      Weren't each of those companies circling the drain when they were taken over? Shame about Palm though. If they had made a 7in Palm Vx it would have beat the Kindle to the market by 5 years or so as an ereading device? With Indiglo!

    • I like the commentary quoted in the NY Times [nytimes.com] that likens him to hypothetical former Boeing exec taking over Ford, then announcing that Ford was going to make planes instead.

      Nah. It's been done. [countdowntokittyhawk.com]

    • by slapout (93640)

      So now, HP just needs to merge with Yahoo...

    • Actually it was more like compaq engufled HP. They got a shitload of managers in who did not understand anything except for selling PC boxes. The entire PaRISC division etc... had to suffer from that other divisions were split apart etc... . Dec was a Compaq victim before.

      The modern HP is be what Compaq would have become if they were not bought by HP.

  • I really liked WebOS, I was always hoping it would come in at least second or third place in the mobile OS space....

    The problem I see for WebOS now, is that unless it leaves HP who would buy a new device based on it? How would you be able to trust that HP would not kill it off in a month or two, all over again if it did not sell well?

    A WebOS shell atop Android as others have suggested seems possibly like something they might put more backbone into. But then with the PC division going, any new hardware is

  • Smacks of... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by michael_cain (66650) on Monday September 05, 2011 @11:34PM (#37312500) Journal
    ...positioning things so they can sell it off. Move it out of the line organization, into a special headquarters group, then sell it.
  • I only ask this because it seems like the same desperate grasping kind of maneuver.

    Incidentally, if HP tanks, who will own the BeOS rights?
    ie: Palm bought Be Inc. and then HP bought Palm...

    Maybe it's a Be Inc. corporate virus spreading.....
    It just infects companies who consume the previously infected 'host' .

    • by Anonymous Coward

      HP does not own BeOS.

      Palm sold BeOS to Access Co before HP became involved.
      BeOS rights now belong to Access Co

  • The webos shell would make a great UI for VMS.

Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of science.

Working...