HP Dis-Gracefully Exits Out Of The WebOS Tablet And Smartphone Business

If you want the new HP Touchpad you need to go to Best Buy and pick one up as soon as possible.  HP announced today, just 16 months after acquiring Palm/WebOS, that they are discontinuing their webOS business.  Fresh on the heels of reports that BestBuy was looking to return over 200,000 HP TouchPads, HP has pulled the plug altogether.

Paolo Alto based HP, the company credited with starting Silicon Valley, released their third quarter 2011 earnings and took that time to highlight new strategies which include dumping the webOS tablet and smartphone business.  In a company press release highlighting their Q3 results HP said:

HP will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. The devices have not met internal milestones and financial targets. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.

More after the break

HP released three webOS devices this year, the Pre 3, The Veer and The TouchPad.  Although they’ve tried to market the TouchPad with an aggressive advertising campaign, they aren’t selling well at all. Yesterday we reported, along with many other tech sites, that HP TouchPad sales were very poor at the big box level. According to reports Best Buy sold approximately 25,000 of 270,000 HP Touchpads purchased from HP.

AT&T began selling the HP Veer earlier in the year. It was also reported that AT&T was going to start selling a cellular enabled version of the HP Touchpad but that plan is probably scrapped at this point in time.

When HP purchased Palm/WebOS last year they seemed exciting about this new line of business.  Reports earlier today suggested that HP may sell their computer business and focus on things like their webOS business.  Although they may still sell their computer business, webOS is just about dead.

HP says they would look into licensing webOS but the mobile landscape doesn’t seem to have a viable buyer.  With Android and iOS dominating the smartphone and tablet arena, RIM/Blackberry and Microsoft’s WP7 are struggling to hold their own.  Gartner analyst Mike Gartenberg told Fierce Wireless that the downfall of webOS may have created an opportunity for Microsoft

“It absolutely gives Microsoft some significant momentum right now to say to carriers, we can be that No. 3, we can fill that market gap,” he said.  Gartnerberg also offered up his theory as to what happened to HP and webOS “You could argue that the market was already moving too fast by the time they got into the game,” he said, referring to HP, and cited the iPad and more mature Android products as examples of what HP had to compete against. “It’s hard to play the fast follower game. You can play the fast follower game when the market is moving 100 miles per hour. It’s impossible when the market is moving 5,000 miles per hour.” (Source: Fierce Wireless)

This is actually a sad ending to a sad story. Back in the late 90’s Palm was looking like an industry leader. After a mixed up purchase of licensee Handspring it seemed that Palm really went down hill. Had Palm been able to maintain through the last two decades the tablet could have been introduced many years ago.

source: FierceWireless