Whitman: We'll make a decision on webOS "in the next few months"
Today’s conference call about HP’s decision to not perform a self-lobotomy revealed that the HP leadership had come to realize something the rest of us realized when the decision to split off the Personal Systems Group was announced: it was one of the dumbest decisions in the history of technology, and they’re lucky to have the chance to undo it before the damage gets even worse. HP CFO Cathy Lesjak noted that their analysis showed that by splitting the separated software and hardware companies would suffer a combined annual profit loss of around $1 billion annually due to the required duplication of expensive things like accounting, human resources, equipment, and real estate.
And as was bound to happen, and as has happened on every conference call since HP announced their intention to buy Palm back in April 2010, webOS came up. Of course, this time it was of the “what are you to do with webOS” variety, with Bill Schultz of Goldman Sachs prompting PSG EVP Todd Bradley on HP’s tablet strategy. Bradley responded that HP is going to continue to focus on their current tablet offerings (meaning the Windows 7 convertible tablets) as well as upcoming Windows 8 tablets, which he later noted they are working with Microsoft to create some “extraordinarily compelling” products.
Bradley also said that he, CEO Meg Whitman Lesjack, and former Palm CEO and current HP VP Jon Rubinstein are working “as quickly as we can to make the right decisions about [webOS],” with Whitman adding that they'll make a decision about “the long-term future of webOS within in HP over the next couple of months.”
We know, it’s a new spin on the all-too-familiar refrain of “please continue to wait” we’ve been getting from HP for the past eighteen months. Whitman did note that HP could find use for webOS in HP business other than the PSG, saying that “we have to make a more holistic decision around webOS.” We’re a bit biased, being on the consumer side of things, but we really hope that the “holistic decision” is not to utilize bits and pieces of webOS in servers and printers. That’s no dignified way to deal with a compelling product like webOS.