Engadget interviews webOS chief Stephen DeWitt | webOS Nation

Engadget interviews webOS chief Stephen DeWitt 32

by Derek Kessler Fri, 19 Aug 2011 6:14 pm EDT

HP SVP of the webOS Global Business Unit Stephen DeWitt sat down for an interview with Engadget following yesterday’s surprising news about HP’s plan to drop webOS device development. If the reports of the all-hands meeting that followed are accurate, DeWitt didn’t seem like he knew much more about what was going on than we did, but he’s had the overnight to get his thoughts in order (as have we).

The gist of the interview came down to DeWitt’s restatement of the point from the conference call: HP is only shutting down the device operations and they’re going to continue working on webOS the operating system while they try to figure out what to do with it. He confirmed that HP has been in talks with third party manufacturers about webOS, though he declined to name any. He said that the execution path they were on with hardware would have required a rather significant investment that, as discussed last night, HP is not entirely willing to make. DeWitt believes that this “alternative approach [will] introduce significantly more flexibility into the system,” which will permit HP to focus their resource on “what matters”, i.e. webOS. There’s plenty more to the interview, but Mr. DeWitt is a master of corporate speak and it’s a little bit hard to parse exactly all of what he’s try to say (if he’s saying anything at all). In short, HP – or at least the webOS GBU – still has plans and aspirations for webOS.

Source: Engadget


So many words, with nothing actually said...

webOS 2.1 is being pushed out to verizon pre 2's as we speak...

These sales pukes have no vision. They get promoted by being AS***** really, and nothing more. If you can filter out any information from this guy, you can count on it not meaning anything at all.

That was my take too - He should run for political office, felt like he never answered the questions.

Left me with More questions - Like should I keep my TP?. Will HP keep the App Catalog, and More importantly, Who will be willing to write apps? What will happen to HP's SWAT team (you remember- the ones to go in and help 3rd parties wright apps)? Can we expect any updates to webOS for the TP? What will happen to the Pre3? (given the release of the white 64g TP today - will they just sell them, assuming they can fine a carrier).

too many questions - No answers! No wonder their stock took a dive!


1. NO.
2. Yes; no one
3. Seriously?
4. Yes, in the coming months
5. Rebranded as pay-as-you-go phones at WalMart

spot on

This really was a waste of an interview. You never get true talk out of people like this in companies like HP. Just corporate bullsh*t and the old run around.

Oh yeah, "he's had the overnight to get his thoughts in order," alright...

"Care to revise your statement, sir?"


"Do you want to change your bullsh*t story, sir?"


Pretty useless interview - no specifics. HP is looking at 3rd party licensing and continuing to work on the webOS software in the meantime.

The key question that was not asked is what sort of business model for webOS makes any sense at this point. Potential licensees are not going to pay a lot for a mobile OS (a la the Windows licensing model), and HP doesn't have server side services to make money off of while distributing the OS for free (a la the Google Android model).

I'm guessing HP would like to sell both webOS and PSG - possibly to Samsung. This would actually make sense because Samsung does not have a PC business and webOS could run on all their consumer products (TVs, Blu-Rays, refrigerators, etc, etc).

At the paste they are working on webos now, it could take a few years to exit the Beta stage. Or maybe they will use the scrapped resources from the hardware division to fund the software sector. Ahahahahahhaha
I bet the 3rd party developers are a group of Asian friends, who are making 100$ android 2.1 knockoffs

Dear Mr. DeWitt,

I'm trying very hard to believe you atm, alas... as a customer being kicked in the pants - twice! - it makes it _very_ hard to believe any of the words that come out of your mouth.

So, Mr. DeWitt, you better speed up things a little, since with every hour passing, more and more people will jump from the Band Wagon.

For the moment, I'm stuck with the TouchPad, which is still a device decent enough for me to keep it. Anyway, if I had the Chance to return it this morning, you could watch me now running after the little green robot.

Again, speed it up! Actions speak louder than words. Give us something to make us believe again. Like WebOS 3.1 with a decent task app.

A decent task app? Oh, expectations really are low for Touchpad owners.

this bs seeing that I just brought one over the ipad to and now they aren't even going to support wow blind faithh is just plain stupid guess I'm just outta 500 bucks

I left webOS and got the new motorola Photon 3 days ago. I love the OS and think it is the best out there. That said, how these billion dollar companies with all their "MBA's and PhD's" can't figure out to to communicate with their customers and do a launch is pathetic.

Too bad I can't get webOS on my dual core 1GHz processor motorola phone.

Sucks for ALL of the touchpad buyers. Good luck getting support or apps for your new device.

I will stay tuned in the hopes that the likes of motorola, samsung, htc can put webos on their phones.

Too many "salesmen" and "bean-counters" running things. I guess the lenses in their glasses are a different color than ours. I don't belive that right after the release of a device, they suddenly didn't like the numbers. HP saw this coming a long time ago.

DeWitt is in DeNile. It's kind of like the First Mate on the Titanic telling passengers, "Don't worry... we're just going to patch up that hole in our ship while we wait for another cruise ship to come along and pick us up. Then it will be free drinks, fun music, and a party all night long."

Sorry, it's time for the passengers and the rats to head to the life boats (and this coming from a long-time webOS supporter).

The worst thing HP can do is keep webOS to themselves. Do they think any hardware manufacturers are going to come within a mile of this stuff if its being controlled by HP? It has become discustingly clear that all HP cares about is its (near term) bottom line. Nobody has any confidence in you anymore HP. The damage has been done, the ship has sailed, and your stocks on wall street have plumetted.

As of today you have a bunch of slightly used Touchpads behind the counters of Wal-mart, Best Buy, Office Max, and Office Depot ect ect ect. You killed the best mobile OS on the planet.

I hope HP is planning on writing all the apps, too, because without hardware, it's going to be mighty challenging to get developers to write apps for webOS. The only reason for developers to start and/or keep writing apps for webOS was because of the scale HP could deliver by pushing webOS devices through their enterprise customers and by tie-ins to their huge volume of laptop sales. Without HP, there is no scale. Without scale, there will be no developers. Without developers, no apps. No apps means no webOS.

Flushing the $1.2 billion plus for the Palm acquistion and maybe another half a billion since means next to nothing (evidently) to a company that can spend $10.24 billion on its latest acquisition plus another $12 billion in lost share value.

This is all still very sad. Imagine if you could have the webOS on solid hardware like the EVO 3D. It would rival unicorns.

If they wanted to keep WebOS alive, they shouldn't have dropped the bomb like they did. They should have released Pre3 while seeking hardware vendors to license the OS. They killed what little momentum WebOS had by doing things this way. Dang! I sooo wanted a Pre 3!!!

Somebody give this guy some ATM

"HP is only shutting down the device operations and they’re going to continue working on webOS the operating system"

Perhaps they do not realize that an "operating system" is a thing that has to run on a "devices" in order for it to be useful. I have a hard copy of the Linux kernel source, but it doesn't work as well as the version that's running on this workstation I'm using right now.

Well I bet the 12 BILLION they lost today would have been better used on new hardware than just setting it on fire. Looks like yesterday they forgot to do the number crunching again.

Did DeWitt actually say anything?? Seriously, that was more ambiguous than "in the coming months".

Hopefully HP will release the Pre 3 on their website (unlocked of course) so that those that choose to punish themselves can purchase one. WebOS-Internals will more than likely do a better job with apps and updates/patches than HP anyway.

Well at this point HP has 0 credibility.

Even if the middle management means hat they say - it's obvious that top management kept their own folks clueless.

I'll consider webos dead as long as HP has it. If they really want to do anything with it they need to sell the os with a deal where HP gets licences for what they need (printer UI).

I'm sick of hearing all of these guys (and one gal) continue to blow smoke at everyone. From their launching on July 1 and then realizing it was going to take "a year or two" to get to parity through "webOS is still a priority" Please!

You took a year and put out mediocre hardware. Who's fault is that? Then, you didn't have the courage to man up to YOUR MISTAKE and put out a better second iteration (a la Samsung).

It wasn't the market, the economy, or the OS , or the silicon gods. You guys (Leo and company) messed up... and nobody at HP is willing to say that.

Ehh, I'm over the fanboyism going on.

Look, when I was doing Palm development years ago, I was kinda shocked when I found out during a sit-down with HTC reps that they were making Treos behind the scenes that were rebranded by Palm. And honestly, compared to some of HTC's other offerings, they weren't that bad. Back then, HTC was the value manufacturer, and Palm was just slapping PalmOS on them and shipping them out with most customers nonethewiser.

That said, HP's hardware has never been "enviable". They've made, at best, "nice" stuff. But nothing that made me say "ooo, I really want that." Ever. Their hardware division made their money by making lots of boring boxes that are slightly better than Dell's, printers, and mass producing them to corporations. In a lot of ways, the exact same business model that IBM used to have. And like IBM, HP seems to want to be a service provider and a software company, even though when you think "HP", you think "Printers". Because that's the thing they did best.

Even when HP made PDAs, they sucked. The Jornada was the worst piece of garbage I had ever seen. They bought Compaq and managed to make the iPaq into a Jornada.

Basically, all I ever wanted was for HP or some company with stupid money (and in HP's case, I emphasize "stupid", as in, they don't have to innovate much, they just soak up cash flow as mainly a result of being in business for a really long time) to pump money into webOS. It's an awesome OS. As for HP making the hardware, I kinda hoped that they wouldn't and Palm would find a company to source manufacturing to. Like Apple uses Foxconn to make the iPhone, you know?

And in truth, HTC's build quality has improved, though they still don't really make the super awesome stuff. They just kind of do about as good as everyone else. But...they do have an exclusive deal with Beats, so that kinda matches up with a big marketing point of the Touchpad. So it kinda makes sense, given that HTC can make devices that people actually want.

In any case, it's going to take so long at this point that I just bought myself an unboxed Sprint Pre as a replacement between then and now. Maybe I'll FrankenPre my old Pre...it's held up well for 2 years now.

maybe they google it: let someone build the device for their webos. maybe?!
i am talking of nexus one, nexus s etc

F*** Y**!!! De(dim)Witt and the HP ship you sailed in on...


Come on HP!!! Tell us what you're REALLY going to do. Or, do you have a clue???

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