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webOS VP of Marketing departs… not that there's much to market right now 19

by Derek Kessler Thu, 05 Apr 2012 8:17 am EDT

webOS VP of Marketing departs… not that there's much to market right now

Yet another HP executive is leaving webOS, this time it's VP of Marketing David Gee who is heading out. Gee served in the role as webOS marketing chief for five quarters (which seems to be significantly longer than most of HP's webOS executive appointments), prior to that spending seven years as the marketing VP for HP Software and HP Enterprise Services. Gee is headed to IT automation provider Infoblox as their new Executive Vice President of Marketing.

We can't say we really blame Gee for leaving the webOS group, it's not like his job was really needed at this point for webOS. There's simply nothing to market, and won't be for several months at best. So he's headed to greener pastures, and, as he told us, "returning to my enterprise infrastructure roots" with the move to Infoblox.

Gee's departure appears to be on much more amicable terms than the surprise removal of Sam Greenblatt as the CTO of webOS, or Richard Kerris's departure for competitor Nokia. We wouldn't be surprised to see the VP of webOS Marketing position sit empty for a while - right now with this ongoing transition to an Open Source webOS and an uncertain future, there's not much need for a dedicated marketing team, much less a vice president to oversee it.

After all of the layoffs that have hit the webOS group, we'd honestly be surprised if there was a marketing team left, mostly surprised that HP would let go engineers from what amounts to a software engineering project before marketers. Given how well HP's marketing efforts went before things went south, perhaps some fresh blood is needed in the webOS marketing department anyway. Or a whole new team, maybe. Really, we won't likely have an idea what's going on with webOS marketing for some time. So long as there's somebody, eventually, with what amounts to a good plan, then we'll be cool.

19 Comments

Did he do good work in the role?

Good question. It's traditional that when someone leaves the webOS team someone will dig up reasons why they didn't do a good job so that they essentially can say "good riddance!" It's just the same rationalization that has kept interest in this platform among a select few over the past few years.

Here's a funny caption for the above photo - "This product is inconsequential to the tablet market and will, in fact, not exist in the marketplace in 2012"

You could also add to the caption "...yet paradoxically will be one of the most sought after tablets during a few rather unorthodox 'sales' late in 2011, and continuing to crop up with resellers such as Woot, Ebay, Tiger Direct, Best Buy, etc. well into 2012 and beyond."

There might be a better way to say "most sought after" because I don't mean in number, but rather in foaming at the mouth intensity for the available stock.

Infoblox - that's also where Chuq ended up at, if I recall right?

Indeed. Chuq is Infoblox's Technical Manager of Communities... whatever that means for a corporate IT automation firm.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/chuqui

"There's simply nothing to market, and won't be for several months at best."

There's nothing to market and won't be for at least a year. If then.

I love webOS, and I will keep my Touchpad (had to sell my Pre 3 due to slider issues, my third), but be realistic.

I sometimes wonder if " leaving " is a face saving euphemism for executives being fired. I am nauseated by the photos of Meg Whitman proudly brandishing a dollar bill as her salary and her $16.5 million compensation already for a year that isn't over ,which also may mean more millions may be coming . How many webOS employee salaries and benefits does $16.5 million cover? $16.5 million so far is an egregious amount for a CEO whose company is losing money and has yet to justify her "compensation" aside from earnest and hypocritical lip service. As far as I can tell aside from false symbolic gestures such as open cubicles,lip service and hypothetical strategies, the only thing that Meg Whitman has done is to "restructure HP" aka fire people. I wonder if she hired an accountant to figure out how many people she needed to fire in order to get her $16.5 million. No wonder she's always smiling. Will the Homebrew ultimately be the only webOS employees left? HP doesn't have to pay them. Is this what HP means by their commitment to webOS.

It's $16.5 in performance-based compensation set out over the next few years. If she can't turn HP around to the marks set by the board, then she's not going to be paid.

Thank you Derek for keeping wild accusations at bay. I appreciate the knowledge base you have and that you take the time to use it well when needed.

Oh, and Happy Easter! (am I allowed to say that?)

Thanks, I hope so. I'm very cynical and pessimistic about corporations as you can tell

webos is far from her only or primary concern. Have some perspective. It's a small and unprofitable part of what HP is.

As for her being overpaid. I'd agree. I don't think highly of her.

Thanks for keeping me up to date, but I could use some good news about now.
I almost feel Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" should be playing when I log in.

Well, that's a sad but logical news. But I think there is still work to do! How many Touchpad are around? 3 millions? 4 millions? So yes there is a market. Look at Ebay..how many Touchpad are being sold at £200/£250 or even more. Check Ebay Pulse (UK) and search for tablets: Number 8 is the HP touchpad. In the USA Ebay Pulse HP touchpad is number 9!
And what about the stylish accessories: Touchstone ! (just amazing). So I am sure that if HP produce now 300,000 HP touchpad 32Gb and sell them at £270 they will sell them.
My first tablet was the XOOM. My first Smartphone was HTC Desire..all Android. Then I tried Windows Phone 7.5 with HTC Mozart. Then I bought 2 Touchpads and the PRE 3. I forgot to say that at home I always had IMAC. But once you have a Touchpad and tried webOS you cannot compare. Then few weeks ago I decided to sell my Touchpad and PRe3. I thought...look there is no future here and bought the IPAD2. I sold it within 10 days. I hated it. IOS is better than Android but nothing like WEB OS. I am going to buy again a Touchpad next week. I miss webOS. So really HP this is a shame that you killed them so fast!

I believe estimates are that only about one million touchpads were built. For comparison, Apple sold a million iPad 3's per day during its first 3 day weekend.

I find it interesting that people think there will be a "release" that they can
"build" some time in the future.

Sam totally botched things. Who put that idiot in charge?

This guy obviously didn't do a damn thing as "Head of Marketing" ....

There may be no products to "market", but the reality is, marketing is more than "selling" in the case of webOS. Marketing isn't just TV ads for fancy new products. It is promoting the potential, the progress, opportunity, and the promise of what the direction can mean, and keeping the opportunity available for the work that is underway. Much of that is very different than what a "conventional" marketing campaign may seem, but if there is not marketing, in unconventional manners, to keep alive the promise of what this OS is and can be, then there is little chance to capitalize on the efforts your team is spending real money on. We all know how inadequate marketing contributed to the demise of Palm. While there was actually some significant market effort around TouchPad, the fact remains that even a superior product will fail miserably, without quality marketing, and inferior products will rise purely by the quality of their marketing. We all know the examples I infer. But there are MANY examples of this.

What I hope, is that they are willing to put in the effort to "market" what is happening, what the community means, what their opportunity proposition is, and keep the brand alive in the public mindshare, in order to give webOS an ongoing and (hopefully) growing opportunity among the parties that can bring it's value to fruition, as well as a public interest.
Obviously, right now there isn't anything to excite a consumer. Without a product, the end user has little to engage with, but building a buzz, promoting the future, and building relationships is critical to the goals they have invested in, and creative marketing techniques will be critical in achieving any return on current investment, regardless of whether it's dedicated managers or not.

Here's to hoping HP is serious enough to continue to promote their effort, investment, and the opportunity that webOS CAN represent to the market.

If they need a replacement for this guy then I will do it. I have absolutely no qualifications so I believe I'm the man for the job! Well I am a good listener and I have one clip on tie if that helps.

OH NO! And just when webOS was starting to overtake the other OSes in market share. Now webOS is doomed!

Frankly, I'm surprised he stuck around this long; he should be commended for leaving on his own on amicable terms, but it's strange his job wasn't cut soon after Apotheker sentenced HP's webOS division to death. Then again, maybe at that point it was his job to try to sell or license webOS.

I still love my webOS devices, and I smile every time I see an app update available. I had an Android phone for several months--it had awesome call quality, a working GPS, and a nice big screen, but it was a pain to use and the user experience was awful. I hope Google at least has the sense to rip off every last feature of the webOS UI now that it's open-source.