HP to lay off as many as 525 at webOS GBU [Updated] | webOS Nation

HP to lay off as many as 525 at webOS GBU [Updated] 73

by Riz Parvez Mon, 19 Sep 2011 9:32 pm EDT

The weeks since HP’s landmark restructuring announcement have been incredibly tumultuous for the webOS community. We’ve seen our share of highs and lows, and through it all have continued to wonder what exactly the future will hold for our beloved OS. While it certainly has been a challenging time for the enthusiast community, the latest news from HP serves as a stark reminder of the gravity of the situation being faced by those formerly working at Palm Inc.

According to All Things D, HP has confirmed the layoff of 100 people within the webOS Global Business Unit, with further report that the process of handing out pink slips began this week. HP went on to attribute this layoff to the discontinuation of webOS device development, implying that those individuals working on hardware were likely among the hardest hit. They concluded by noting continued support of webOS customers, and again professed their ongoing exploration of “ways to leverage webOS software.”

While it could be said that the writing has been on the wall since mid-August, it remains no less difficult to learn that the process has begun. Certainly to those now-former employees of the webOS GBU, we at Precentral extend our sincerest gratitude for your hard work. A vibrant, passionate community was built around your efforts, and we all hope you land comfortably back on your feet.

Update: All Things D are now citing sources close to HP in reporting that layoffs may total as high as 525 employees when all is said and done. While we know there had been a great deal of restructuring including efforts to bolster the webOS team in the months following the acquisition, one has to wonder what percentage of the total webOS workforce this represents.

Source: All Things D; Thanks, sf_basilix!



Today, HP laid off a lot of folks and WebOS people were part of that. This is how they always try and hit their #'s - through cuts, not innovation.

Leo is a complete A@@ and waste. Get him out of there ASAP! Absolute joke of a CEO. He is a perfect example of "it's all about who you know, not what you know."

That used to not be the case. Sad to say that it is now the norm.

You said it man. I get all my work because of who i know.This sucks ca has high unemployment right now my wife included so she went back to school.Good luck to all of them

I wish the best for the webOS employees especially the hardware people. I hope the core software staff remains functional.

we sure do.

Very Sad to hear that the HP webOS folks are getting laid off.

I would suggest each of them grab a few ATT&T or Verizon Pre3's and put it on ebay as a severance package....

Ahhh, nice... ;)

exactly my thought...Id probably pay more for a Verizon Pre3 than they got in severance!

If I were into witchcraft, I'd be looking for an Apotheker doll right about now. I appreciate all the hard work the developers have put into this community, but I wouldn't blame them for vacating for greener pastures right about now. (But I do hope we get Graphite and SmartOffice, though!)

After my webOS ecosystem goes belly up, I'm done supporting underdogs. From now on, I'm going with the crowd, even if it means getting stuck with crappier software. A badly performing Netflix app is better than no Netflix app...

That's Voodoo, witchcraft is a whole different thing! I'd say we bury Leo up to his neck and pour honey over his head in bear territory.

It's all irrelevant now and I sure do love my $99 Touchpad, but I have to wonder what the landscape would look like if they had not wasted time with the Veer which always had a limited market, launched the Touchpad at a lower price point, released the Pre3 and released the Touchpad Go.

Would these people still have their jobs?

If they had launched the Touchpad with the typical markup for electronics instead of trying to match pricepoints with Apple, we would ALL be happy. Unfortunately, some idiot decided that since webOS is just as good as iOS that it should compete on cost. I have nothing but contempt for whoever made that decision.

100% i think they'd be in exactly the same place. Because i think though pre users lover the vertical slider the what sells now are slabs and after that horizontal sliders. The other thing is compared to the competition the touchpad didn't measure up in terms of hardware and apps. it was thicker, webos seemed sluggish on it blah blah blah.

I agree the veer was a total mistake but i think what they needed really was, something that looks just like the epic 4g touch or or like an evo. that is a keyboardless black slab phone. Second i think the day they saw the ipad 2, just like samsung they should scrap the touchpad, and start a better tablet, thinner, hdmi out, two cameras, more storage then apple. You can't beat them on everything but like the evo did to the iphone 4 you one up them where you can, and it needed to launch, that updated tablet by July 1. That's around when samsung's updated tablet launched. Obviously webos needed better optimization on a tablet so whatever patches needed to be out for launch and demo models too. And third, i'd have picked 90, yes 90, of the biggest mainstream web/media/whatever properties that have great apps and i'd have paid every single one to make or allow hp to make a webos app. So at launch i'd have paid if needed, espn, netflix, mint, hbo, google, cnn, groupon, starbucks, garmin, etc. Makers of infinity blade, etc.

yes my plan flat turns its back on the i need a keyboard people but honestly they were never enough to carry a mobile platform. My appeasement would be after you make those two devices feel free, at the same time or, shortly after to release a horizontal and vertical slider phone, like a pre 3 or something. I think choice is good so i'd rather have all three form factors. But my first choice would have been the most popular form factor currently and that's the slab, then the others shortly after.

but i think the pre 3 and the current touchpad alone just would not have changed much. And the bigger picture point is HP has been declining for many years now and losing PC revenue so what they really needed was a tablet to sell so well that it fills the hole in lost pc sales. That's probably not 1 million or even 2 million a quarter. That's probably like 10 million a quarter at full price too. That's a tall ask. So i think even if they offered both it may come up short of what HP needs to not fire people.

Oh and i'd have paid to brand every one of those devices a Beats by Dre phone or tablet because it's a better brand then HP or Palm and hipper. And my goal is about making money and a selling product not Palm nostalgia which this being my first palm product, i don't have any. Controversial yes but i still think a black and red beats by dre phone would outsell anything from HP because its' cooler. And if i had to do an htc and buy a percentage or pay for a license to use the name i'd do it.

That's all besides the point.

It needed a company that wants to be in the market.
Everything else is small change in comparison.

Exactly. They could've executed to perfection and sold every Touchpad and Veer at the original launch price.

HP still would've made the same decision to leave hardware altogether. They just wouldn't have killed off the devices immediately. WebOS' fate was sealed the day Hurd left/was shown the door.

this is the excuse of those that just can't admit that there are flaws in both webos and the hardware like the veer and touch pad. Pure illogical speculation. The truth is they didn't come close to selling every veer or touchpad at the original price. And that's not cause of HP that's cause nobody wanted a veer or touchpad.

You guys flat out ignore the fact that nobody wanted to buy the product when it launched. It is a product with flaws.

not to be mean but every single webos device has not sold well. Every one. Across two companies. There is one commonality. the products. They could sell webos to samsung and if all they do is release the same touchpad, the guy aboves, hypothetical, then they'll get the same result. Sorry if the product doesn't change the outcome won't change because all the palm/hp devices are not a winning product in this market.

No. the point is people did not want to buy what they sold. Period. They put a touchpad in the store and nobody bought them. The poster asked if they hadn't tried to sell the veer first would things have been different for the employees. That's the question. My arguement is if all they are still selling the exact same products that nobody wants to buy unless they are 80% off and at a loss then zero would be different.

The arguement that they didnt' want to be in the market for the 9 months they paid to manufacture and market products and put them into store is ridiculous. If they didn't want to be in the market they wouldn't have taking $332 million in losses in one quarter and more over 3.

What's "beside the point" is that you think the only problem was HP. But the reality is there were fundamental problems with the touchpad. People didn't want it at full price. And if you sell the same flawed product the result won't change.

Hi all.

I am an eternal optimist who sees everything as a glass half full...however even I think the handwriting is on the wall...trust me I so want to be wrong about this!

Take care,


I'm with ya -- as long as the glass is half full of whiskey!! ;-)

Well you probably are. I'll confirm it though when i go report to work tomorrow.

Yes please!

I hate to see anyone lose their job and I blame John for the majority of what has transpired, but we all **** about the hardware and then feel sad when the hardware team gets fired. This is only sad to me in that it means webOS will probably go stagnant and die. The pre-, pre plus, pixi (I accutally like the pixi, but no wifi wft), veer, Pre 2 (kinda nailed it here but still fat), and unreleased pre 3 are clear indications that there needed to be a shake up in the hardware division of the webOS GBU.

I don't blame the hardware guys. One of the engineers said that they were given a set of specifications and parts to work with, and had to make them work.

I blame the dolts giving them the specifications who bragged about not every having looked at other phones - it showed!

That being said, I like my Pre and Pre2 better than the Epic I had because of webOS and the portrait slider that doesn't require turning it in my hand, or use up screen real-estate with a virtual keyboard.

I think the hardware guys did a good job with what they had to work with, and I love my TouchPad!

There was a guy on reddit that claimed to be part of the hardware team. Mentioned that there was a slab phone that was canned because they failed to meet deadlines (I belive they were software deadlines). I rock a Pre2, But i would prefer to have a GS2 with webOS. The TP was rumored to be an HP only product and all the phones were palm.

Yet they remain committed to webOS? Perhaps committed to making it fail...

i think im done with webOS this **** is getting old

well I consider myself one of the originals = 4 pre's since 6/2009, long due for a sprint upgrade. Couldn't take it any longer. H/w is dying, cracked phones, cameras that don't work and buttons missing.

Made the leap to Android - Samsung Epic 4g w/keyboard $30 at Samsclub w 2yr renewal.

AMOLED screen, better camera all nice. All the missing apps: Citrix, Redlaser, shazam, a PDF reader that doesn't crash. Medical apps galore. Miss webos interface, cards, and notifications. Oh well.

If HP does bounce back with a new h/w partner I will be looking and keeping an eye out. But it's at least gonna be a year or two...if ever. In the meantime, software loyalists of Kliktray Apps : Techtray, What's Shaking, EasyPulse - stay tuned for Android ports via PhoneGap. Phonegap uses HTML/Javascript so much of the webos code can be ported over. whew.....

on the bright side, maybe this isn't so bad...the hp/palm h/w was **** ..real ****

Samsung, HTC, LG - these guys know how to make some quality **** = let's find a h/w partner in them and put webos on some killer h/w

Better to let the h/w division go - in my opinion they really doomed webos. As I work with android, on the software side webos itself was/is a great interface and we had enough of the basic apps, that a quality set of latest h/w would have still kept things alive.

"While we know there had been a great deal of restructuring including efforts to bolster the webOS team in the months following the acquisition, one has to wonder what percentage of the total webOS workforce this represents."

- this is what I was thinking. I had thought HP announced there had somewhere in the realm of 600 employees working on webOS at one time. If approximately 75 remain, that's not good at all.

Like everyone else, I don't want to say it, but I'm starting to see the writing on the wall as well. I had high hopes for webOS, but with this many layoffs in the webOS dept, HP is making a big statement to the public that they're just not going to do anything with it. If they don't announce an official statement defining their plans or release yet another update to webOS very soon, I too will have to just assume it's dead. Unless HP is killing off everything webOS looking for a suitor to sell it to. But again, nothing from HP as usual, so all that momentum just tossed down the drain, once again...

Hey HP, your statement of "we stand by our commitment to our webOS customers" isn't showing much of anything right about now. Why don't you just open source webOS so the community can take it where it belongs!

600 is the number of people working directly with webOS I suppose (OS-programmers). They also have people working on hardware, human ressources, developer relations, management, DTM, marketing, carrier-relations etc...

This still is no good sign and I wish all the best to those people.

Hopefully one of them will come in here and let us know what really was happening within HP. I came here for the Pre and have been sticking around for the drama.

O hai.

Honestly, the writing was on the wall when HP closed down webos, it was only a matter of time. "So it goes." -Kurt Vonnegut

I'm sad to say. WebOS is going to die a slow and painful death. And I do mean slow and painful in the truest sense. Really. It sucks. Yep. But its coming. Slowly, but surely. Such a shame no?

Leo can go **** himself, along with the rest of HP... Had a release day Sprint Pre which finally died two weeks ago. Had 3 replacements in the last two weeks, each one dying within a couple of days for various reasons, microphone died, screen failed, power button broke off motherboard... Saturday ordered a Samsung Galaxy S2 from Sprint... I thought I'd have a new Pre 3 but found myself choosing between Android **** and iPhone purgatory...

As always corporate America never stops to amaze. Big corporate **** make big bucks making dumb decisions, and the people doing the hard work end up getting the stick up their *** for the wrong doing of others.
I don't see Leo getting laid off, and I'm sure that if he does get laid off he'll get a ton of money as bonuses before he leaves! This is crazy, I'm just so sorry for all those good people who lost their jobs.

I HATE YOU HP, I hope you get swallowed by Apple. And that's saying a lot coming from me because I hate Apple.

Bye WebOS. It was fun while it lasted, and it lasted far too short a time. I highly doubt anyone's going to buy or license WebOS devices when Android is so accessible to OEMs. A crying shame, but I've got my Nexus One and it does a good enough job to let me move on... :(

there is nothing more motivating for a person "work force reduced" than to join a competitor and have that extra motivation to bury the company that just let you go. Hopefully these guys go to work on some nice Windows 8 tablets or something... best of luck to all.

If they intend to destroy HP then they'd better get on the Apple bandwagon. Helping Microsoft would only end up helping HP in the end since they sell PCs.

They don't have to worry about it though, HP is taking care of it themselves, they're walking right off a cliff willingly and all. I'm truly sad for the people who founded the company, HP used to mean quality back in the day, now it's just garbage thanks to the idiots that run it.

I agree Leo could care less about who he gives the pink slip to all about bottom line. I never thought he would be good for webOS anyways. The guy is your typical corporate lackey. Scum bag.

"one has to wonder what percentage of the total webOS workforce this represents" which was always the problem. They needed to at least double the amount of heads working on developing and fixing the OS. The big kicker was when we all realized that they weren't able to develop 2.x and 3.x at the same time, and it all makes more sense.

What makes more sense is to realize that after Hurd was fired and the board reshuffled HP had no interest in investing in webOS anymore. But they probably had contractual obligations from the purchase of Palm, forcing them to put on a good face to avoid being sued by the sellers. These obligations probably included releasing the three vertical sliders already planned (at least one in the US) and the tablet at 1st of July at the latest.

Now it seems like their software obligations are being wrapped up as well, and they can shut down the operation without too much grief. They are not really interested in consumer approval after all..

They have just been going through the motions, doing as little as they need to fulfill the contract, even trotting Leo out on stage showing of the TP. "How can you suggest we haven't made the contractually obligated effort? Didn't you hear our CEO promote the tablet in June?"

Well, it makes it easier to leave webOS (after a Pre, Pre2, Pre3 and a TP) but I have no idea where to go instead. It seems impossible to get Google spyware out of Android.

Try WP7. Incredibly fast interface, multi-tasking and no google spyware.

I will when sprint gets a kick **** mango phone. Until then pre2 it is.

I wonder if HP will soon release a statement regarding their success in attempting to license webOS.

Perhaps they will announce a special event about this at CES 2012 and then have it in February.

525? That's like almost all of the webOS people, isn't it?!?! Leo Apotheker, you are a bonehead and an a**hole!

I believe it's everyone except for the DevRel and software guys, which is what was originally announced was going to happen last month. Doesn't make it any less sad, but not quite as surprising.

I wish them all the best and hope they make it.

I think Palm finally nailed it with hardware with the pre2 and veer, and probably the pre3 (since I've never held it), atleast from a hardware quality aspect.

but though folks like me love the form factors, its not what the market wants. And hp did nothing, absolutely nothing, to make competitive hardware.

the software guys have been good, but not quick enough in releasing updates, also too thinned out and focused on only one product (the tp with webos 3.0)...and dev relations and dev recruiters have not been able to attract big enough developers.

Again, I blame HP. They gave only a half **** effort, including financial support. And they got a half **** result in the marketplace because of that.

we webOS faithful will always love the OS, folks like me will always appreciate the pre/vertical sliding form factor.

for this, I thank you, webOS GBU. I really do, and I think you folks are absolutely amazing. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, and I apologize that you guys had to deal with the morons at HP. I am hoping for the best, but realizing the worst.

Dear Mr. Rubinstein- you are long
overdue for a statement.

Here's your Touchpad. Thanks for all your hard work. Best of luck in future endeavors.

lets face it,, big mistake was allowing the competition to KNOW what you had coming down the pipe. The announcement in Feb as well as prior announcements in the past by Palm were mistakes.
Sure make the announcement, sure tell the world, but with in 1-2 days drop the product on the shelves. This 5-8 month lead was wiped out once you told your competitors what you were bringing to the table. Which is plenty of time for ripoffs of what is the best system out there.
If it had of been done right in the first place, Ipad, samsung, rim etc etc would have been playing catch up. Not the other way around. 2nd large mistake, coming to market with incomplete software, and shoddy hardware. Sorry Palm, Hp, thats what you did. When you demand the price point that you wanted for a product, you better damn well make sure it is worth the dollars dropped, or were neither of you paying attention to the present circumstances many find themselves in regarding work...Pls the failing was not on the adopters of this OS, it was yours and yours alone. I will also state, people comparing this OS to another are patently wrong. Apples to Apples people, not apples to oranges.
I really do love the whole Leo thing, will the lawsuits be successful? by the time this gets settled, Web os devices will be gathering dust in a drawer. This includes the TP. I am an early adopter of the Pre-, plus i purchased a TP (16), yes it has a few quirks, my boss has an Ipad, he never uses it except at home. My TP goes out on every single sales call I make, it has sold me more product, than the traditional laptop/paper presentation than you can imagine. Many friends want the TP, they are of the same mind, they dont like apple. Android has a number of viruses and is fragmented as ****
here is hoping that someone picks up this software and runs with it. my bet, ol Leo is not looking to license it. He is going to put it on the back burner, than quietly put it in the deepfreeze.

Of course Leo wants to license it, sell it, rent it, whatever he can do with it. The reason HP still has it is because no one else wants it. They have been trying to license it for months. If HP ends up keeping WebOS, it is because they couldn't find a sucker as big as them.

If HP truly cares for their customers (as they claim), they'll license webOS for a song (as in $1.49) and take a massive charge on their taxes (IANAL). They'll get app revenue, they'll still have the Palm patents, and their beloved customers will actually get new hardware...

They took way too long to launch for sure, but who ripped off anything from the Touchpad, Veer, and Pre 3? The Playbook beat the TouchPad to market with swipe functionality it didn't even have (not that it helped RIM's sales), and nobody is trying to copy anything on WebOS phones.

Sorry, webos had "swipe" functionality long before anyone else did. **** most truly don't have it now. Just a weak attempt to copy WebOs.
Rim copied the pre, pretty simple. Since than, they have all tried to copy this os. yes, people like the "swipe", friends with ipads ask what did i do to close a card? lol, yes the TP has its shortcomings, however, as to a tablet with at least some enterprise built in, nothing else comes close. I am on the street every day, sales people with playbook, ipad, etc etc can not even come close. My clients know it, and appreciate it, my competitors want one of these units, and know they can not get one. HP, if you really are reading this, you could sell one **** of a lot more of these units now. Just start making them, and keep them in a reasonable price point, no 99 is not enough, however, 499 is way too darn much!

But anybody can get a Touchpad for waaaay less than any competing pad. They're sold on Craiglist and eBay every day.

End game....

Clearly HP continues to lack vision.

Google is always hiring talented people.

I hope Jon Rubenstein was the first one on the list! That guy is a smoke blowing thief in my opinion.

Just sell webOS!!!. In HP's hand, webOS will linger on to be a worthless OS given minimal priority for research and innovation. It will just fade away. Even open sourcing it will give it an amazing boost.

Either way HP has noticeably went far and beyond in making foolish decisions. Let webOS be free. Sell or open source it!

Palm used to have a workforce of about 1000, so I would guess that 525 is about half of what used to be the GBU. Hope for the best for all of them...

Practically HP bought a high end car that just needs some tweaking to bring out it's full potential. They let the car sit in the garage for a while and then started to ask "how much money would I make if I take this car to the junk yard and sell for parts?"

I lay all of this squarely at the feet of HP's board. Had they supported Mark Hurd instead of firing him like the bunch of cowards they are, HP wouldn't be talking about cutting it's own head off to save its body.

Instead, they got rid of a CEO with vision and balls, and replaced him with a known failure.

The only occupations in the world where you can be consistently wrong and still be rewarded: weather forecaster and Fortune 500 CEO.

I think they canned Hurd because they wanted to move to software. Then they courted Leo as the interim CEO/fall guy and will have a new CEO in the next 12 to 18 months.

WebOS hardware was lacking. Does it really take 500+ people to design a TouchPad?? It's a black slate running WebOS. Let's see, source a touchscreen, spec out a fast processor, thrown in some batteries and charging coils, some ram, an antenna or two, a camera, some packaging materials... sounds like it can be done by a small team of 10 in a matter of weeks. Where the funk is my Pre3?? Losers, no wonder you're out of work.

Palm supposedly didnt design the TP HP did.

That's what HP thought - that the hardware didn't require much innovation. They were wrong. That's how you end up with a heavy fat pad. If you want something like the iPad 2 then you have to shave off millimeters and grams while maximizing the battery life. Not to mention what you have to do to get large volume of products into your retail channels on a tight schedule.

The devil is in the details with these mobile devices and HP didn't deliver a competitive product either on the hardware or software side.

While I'm disappointed to see webOS continue to decline, the real loss is for the employees being let go. I'm sure you all have seen the writing on the wall, but this isn't easy.

My thoughts are with you. May you land well (with a company that appreciates you).

HP sucks asssss for sure. I hope all you webOS folks hit the ground running and go straight to the competition with your mad skills and thrive.

I love webOS and am quite sad to hear this news.

I wish every one who worked webOS the very
best. Thank you all.

I too regret the loss of these jobs, highly skilled employees at that. This is happening all to often of late, lay off employees to max out the profit line for shareholders, some say, if not for the share holders they would not have had work in the first place, i would suggest, if not for these employees, with vision, to develop a great system, the shareholders would have had nothing to invest in. Period. Short sighted on HP's part to the extreme.
Will web os survive in some form, i sure as **** hope so.. Again, your loss is also our loss, good luck to you, i hope you land on your feet running and end up at a company that is prepared to go to the wall. unlike ol leo and company.

HP has never done good with wireless devices! It's just not their thing! Stick with PCs. I knew the demise of the Pre was coming when HP purchased it and took too long developing the Pre 3 and stopped support on the original Pre! I still use my Pre on Sprint but it falls short on a few features but I like it in terms of size and general performance. A whole slew of Pre users and supporters where angry that Sprint didn't get the Pre 3 (no one did in the end)! I said along that it was really Palm/HP's fault and not Sprint! User forum members at Sprint hated me cause I saw the writing on the wall and because I defended Sprint over this!