back to article HP murders webOS tablets, phones

HP has announced that it will discontinue its webOS TouchPad and webOS phones, just weeks after the arrival of the TouchPad and a little more than a year after the company acquired the webOS mobile operating system from Palm in a $1.2bn purchase. In a press release floated before the company's quarterly earnings call, HP also …

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  1. NoneSuch
    FAIL

    Brilliant.

    Send 270,000 tablets to Best Buy, not have them sell well and instead of supporting your product with better advertising and offers you simply cancel the line.

    This is the problem with corporations today. No instant profit? Let's move onto something else then.

    1. Robert E A Harvey
      FAIL

      Aye

      But what else do they have in the locker? If they have to buy the 'move into something else' they really are bankrupt for ideas.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      Firesales ahoy

      I think those tablets will be sold eventually. After all they are still tablet devices that more or less do what they say albeit not at a price point that justifies buying them. So they'll get deep discounted to clear them out. I wouldn't be surprised if someone hacks Android onto it at some point either.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Brilliant.

      “Send 270,000 tablets to Best Buy, not have them sell well and instead of supporting your product with better advertising and offers you simply cancel the line.

      This is the problem with corporations today. No instant profit? Let's move onto something else then.”

      Or releasing products that aren’t ready. In most of the reviews I read, the reviewer said there were a few niggles that really needed to ironed up (and these were people that thought it had potential and could be a winner). Also, there was a lack of available apps? What was the incentive for consumer to commit to a product and platform that is unproven and has issues? Particularly when there is a market leader (whether or not it deserves to be is another matter) like the iPad that's at a similar price point?

      It’s a little like RIM releasing the PlayBook when it isn’t able to used with for email (a function that RIM is synonymous with) unless you hook it up to a BlackBerry. Some of my mates manage retail stores and when they’ve had RIM sales representatives trying to push the PlayBook, who were asked questions such as ‘So when is email capability going to be added?’, the answer has been a vague ‘in the future.’ This, I'm reliably informed, doesn't make it a selling point to customers.

      As a recent ElReg article reported, the vast majority of punters are only interested, for better or worse, in an iPad. If you worked in retail and someone came in for an iPad, you’re going to have a hard job pushing them towards something else – particularly, if they’ve done a little research and have heard there are issues.

      As for giving it time, according to the AllThingsD article, Best Buy had lost patience – when there has been significant price cuts (in the case of the entry model, 20%) and the thing ain’t shifting, you know you’re trying to sell a pup. As that article said, the 25,000 sales figure might be “charitable” and it’s unlikely that those figures are net of returns. In Europe, around 12,000 have been shifted.

      It’s public knowledge that Best Buy couldn’t sell the things and when a retailer that size can’t at that reduced price point (and neither could Amazon), do you think there are going to be lots of other outlets ready to pick up the gauntlet?

      Now when Staples had a voucher that could get you another $100 off, they sold out – but this took the price to $299 or $399, depending on which model you went for. However, according to this article - http://www.devicemag.com/2011/07/04/hp-touchpad-costs-307-to-make-3g-ipad-2-built-for-less/ - each Touchpad cost $307 to make. Assuming this is roughly correct, take in how R&D, associated costs to get it to market and how much retailers will expect to make, you just can’t make money at the price point they were fyling off the Staples sheleves.

      Personally, I don’t think giving it time would have worked – the device needed a far better introduction; consumers aren’t that patient and will remember teething problems. Another Apple device is worth thinking about – the Newton. It shipped when the handwriting recognition didn’t work (as famously parodied on The Simpsons), this was soon sorted out, but it kept the reputation of being a dog - one that Jobs would put down when he returned to Apple, but in the meantime, one that consumers didn’t want to take home. There were other reasons, but people don't want to but pricey kit that holds future promise.

    4. Hardcastle the ancient

      downvotes?

      I can't see anything to downvote here. This is how corporations carry on

  2. mafoo
    FAIL

    Wow

    Wow, really, wow.

    What was the point in buying palm?

    Seems slightly extreme to cut your losses so soon after their first webOS product bombed, especially as they are about to release the TouchPad 4G - is anyone going to buy that now knowing its already dead in the water.

    Oh well.

    1. Solomon Grundy

      I Won't

      I wanted a TouchPad. I wanted a 4G model but don't want a "walking dead" product. Guess I'll have to pick something else for my moring coffee/news entertainment.

      1. Jemma Silver badge

        umm, why not?

        If all your gonna do is check the weather, the news and the like why on earth not buy it?

        A product doesnt suddenly dissolve in shame because development has been stopped for heavens sake, its still just as capable. That is of course assuming it will be built now and available. Point of fact, its probably a better buy, cheap prices.

        Ive got the E7 myself, the best phone ive had bar none. Accepts peripherals, accepts many of the 3rd/5th ed apps. Two to three day battery life. Fantastic screen. And more functionality than Android & idiotOnSlab combined. But its not easy or as pretty and it requires the use of a functional brain (at least for a little while) so people dont wanna.

        By all means buy an iTwerp or a An-drone. Its entirely your decision. But dont whine and wail like a Beirut fishwife when WebOS, Symbian and MeeGo go down faster that a Clinton intern. Theres a name for that, hypocrisy.

        I swear that if people actually researched their fondlebrick and fondleslab decisions properly and tested the devices they got before buying them, we'd all be packing smartphones with touch screens, physical keyboards, decent removable batteries, OTG and HDMI out, not to mention GPS and all the rest. Nope, we listen to the ads, buy the fondlebrick and spend the 18 month contract bitching how we now hate touchscreen keyboards.

        But I've digressed. If you have decided the WebOS tablet is the right product for you, that hasnt changed has it? HP shooting themselves in the head hasnt caused it to morph into the tablet equivalent of Dubya in drag? Nope I thought not, so wheres the issue?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Unhappy

          "If all your gonna do is check the weather, the news and the like why on earth not buy it?"

          For the same reason I wouldn't buy a functional Kaypro. It may serve for some time, and even be fun, but what if it needs support? What about upgrades? What (horror!) if I really like it and want it to do more?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          hypocrit?

          "By all means buy an iTwerp or a An-drone. Its entirely your decision. But dont whine and wail like a Beirut fishwife when WebOS, Symbian and MeeGo go down faster that a Clinton intern. Theres a name for that, hypocrisy."

          I am a consumer. I'm on the market for something that serves my purposes, however fancy they may be, not to ensure the survival of companies that make badly dreamed/engineered/marketed products.

          You know, there may be a reason why they weren't selling as well as iPads. By the way, if you want to pose a logic argument, avoid silly name calling.

        3. Andrew Martin 1

          Apps and Support

          You're right: if the device does exactly what you need, out of the box, then it's fine.

          However, sooner or later you will want to install different software - new apps, for example. And those apps will not be available for that device.

          Worse, we have come to expect bug fixes - for security if nothing else - and these will not be available for an unsupported device. Of course, few hackers will be investigating vulnerabilities in WebOS - except perhaps disgruntled purchasers - so you may survive through obscurity. But immediate obsolescence is never a good thing.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          re: umm, why not?

          "I swear that if people actually researched their fondlebrick and fondleslab decisions properly and tested the devices they got before buying them, we'd all be packing smartphones with touch screens, physical keyboards, decent removable batteries, OTG and HDMI out, not to mention GPS and all the rest. Nope, we listen to the ads, buy the fondlebrick and spend the 18 month contract bitching how we now hate touchscreen keyboards."

          Nope, that might suit some people, but not all. Also, I know more people that are happy with their choice of product, than aren't. In any case...

          On the basis on various in-depth reviews of the Touchpad, there are intial teething problems (no surprise for a new piece of kit) and a distinct lack of apps, so if someone did their homework, I can't see they would be swayed into getting a Touchpad on the basis on Touchpad.

        5. Armando 123
          Devil

          Unit of measure

          "go down faster that a Clinton intern"

          Dear Editors of The Register,

          Can this be used as a unit of measure of acceleration in a gravitational field?

  3. fredfox
    Facepalm

    Words

    wow - HP fucked up something else with potential. I wonder what they'll do next. Maybe they'll buy Apple (hahahahahahaha)

    1. Synonymous Howard

      Who could afford to buy Apple anyway?

      Umm.

      1. chr0m4t1c

        Exxon Mobil

        But maybe not for much longer.

  4. Aaron Em

    Compaq, Palm, now what?

    I've never heard of 'Autonomy' -- though the "HP to acquire Autonomy" headline is amusing on at least two levels -- but I'm sure Fiorina's Folly will fuck 'em up all the same.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They sponsor the Mercedes F1 team

      money well spent, I think you'll agree

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And...

        I believe Autonomy (and in this case one of their product names which I forget) is also the Premier League Tottenham Hotspur sponsor/shirt logo. Which means it could go back to being HP which I believe it was a number of seasons ago. A bit strange that link really!

    2. CarlC

      Autonomy

      If it is who I think it is they are a knowledge management company that was originally started in the UK.,a good number of years back (in the mid 1990's I think). Within the last 6 months or so aquired Interwoven, the owners of the Worksite(formerly iManage) Document Management Platform, as well as their own range of CMS and Marketing delivery systems. I think they are primarily software but this all from memory so I stand to be corrected where wrong.

  5. Earl Jones Of Potatoes
    Childcatcher

    pissing around the pot

    in a way HP tried and knew they couldn't compete with iOS. Instead of making another empty promise they decided to take the "no pissing around the pot" approach and in a way, it's brave.

    some would argue that if a product doesn't sell it's cause it's not well advertised. If it sells well, it's because of a good advertising campaign. The truth is that a product sells because it is good. If they do not sell, they are not worth it even if billions are spent to make them look like pieces of heaven.

    1. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Crap handsets

      There was nothing wrong with the OS really, it was the really mundane and average hardware that let them down.

      Tiny touchscreens, qwerty keys when most people have ditched them and seemingly slow progress in hardware development.

  6. tirk
    Unhappy

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Poor old WebOS. Arguably the best mobile OS in some of the worst hardware, and with an owner that didn't understand the sector, it was never going to end well.

    Still, perhaps after the surprise Google/Motorola wedding, HTC or one of the other second-class Android wives may just think about buying it.

    1. dogged
      Go

      HTC...

      Now that's what I call a market disruption.

      And why not? Samsung have Bada. HTC taking webOS would seriously put the frighteners on a few people, mostly those named Brin, Page and Ballmer.

      1. Jazz Kilkullen
        Stop

        Because Palm OS was NOT in good shape when HP bought it.

        It was starved for resources, all the best employees had fled, and the software was far more problematic than people knew. It needed to be stabilized and solidified before HP tried slapping something on it and shoving it out the door, and HP didn't do this. (not surprising--if YOU were the head of Palm OS that had just been bought, would YOU tell your new owner about all the structural issues? I mean, assuming you were aware of them?)

    2. Armando 123
      Thumb Up

      Dang

      You may be right. Let me think out loud a second: imagine you own a cell phone company. Android looks bad now with the Googorola deal. iOS is unavailable. Windows Mobile, or whatever it's called, doesn't seem like a great option as its market share is hitting rock bottom and looking for pickaxes. Bada has issues and I doubt Samsung would license it.

      This just might make sense. I'm not saying it would work, but it just might make sense.

  7. Sean Baggaley 1

    Pity.

    I thought WebOS had a lot of potential. Here's hoping they can find a buyer for the technology as it doesn't deserve to end like this.

    I'm an Apple customer, but I believe competition is a good thing. That's how innovation happens.

    Guess it'll be Apple vs. Microsoft yet again.

  8. Adam Trickett
    Alert

    Is there anything else for HP to screw up?

    Is there anything left for them to screw up?

    I know the PC business isn't glamorous but it is profitable. HP are the largest PC firm I believe.

    The webOS stuff is cute but they should have put more money and effort into it if they really want to make it work. Buying a company only to dump it is just plain stupid.

    Itanium is dead in the water so even their Unix business can't have much life left in it.

    I suppose they'll just be expensive suited consultants, some dodgy software and the printer business left..

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Boffin

      RE: Is there anything else for HP to screw up?

      "Is there anything left for them to screw up?...." Well, they are still the largest IT company in the World, so I'd say there's plenty left that could be screwed up. Or made better.

      "......I know the PC business isn't glamorous but it is profitable. HP are the largest PC firm I believe....." Yes, hp leads the PC market, and makes reasonable profits, very good ones for the sector (by comparison, Lenovo is bragging about making $123m of $5.9bn revs in the PC market in the same quarter (Q2) that hp made $533m from $9.4bn, so hp is roughly four times as profitable from twice as big a turn-over). But Leo is an enterprise software guy, so anything non-enterprise was always going to be on the hitlist. WebOS and phones was easy for Leo to dump - the WebOS buy preceded Leo's arrival, so he can paint it as his predecessor's failure, and the phones haven't made good revs since the old days of the iPaqs. PCs are different - Leo can't deny they make good money, but they upset his "enterprise-software-is-Gawd" outlook, so he will spin it out. Funnilly, when Carly arrived at hp it was just in time to stop the OpenView bizz being split off from the rest of the company, which was probably the smartest thing she did for hp.

      ".....Itanium is dead in the water so even their Unix business can't have much life left in it....." Actually, Leo is likely to push the Itanium platform as it is exactly what he needs to sell his enterprise software on. The ESSN part of hp that flogs the Itanium-based Integrity servers and the storage products made $766m off $5.56bn in Q2, so it was more profitable off less revs than even the PC bizz. And the ESSN number was increasing whilst the PC number is relatively static. Leo knows that hardware and software sales can help each other, so he will want Integrity doing well to help the software number grow.

      ".......I suppose they'll just be expensive suited consultants, some dodgy software and the printer business left.." I actually worry that Leo will spin the printer bizz out with the PCs.

      1. asdf Silver badge
        FAIL

        I call BS

        >The ESSN part of hp that flogs the Itanium-based Integrity servers and the storage products made $766m off $5.56bn in Q2

        So you are saying they made over half the revenue of the PC side on the Itanic or is most of that the storage products and misc as I suspect and you lumped them together to make the Itanic not look like the dead horse it is.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          RE: I call BS

          I don't have a break out of how much was made just on Integrity, but I do know it grew year-on-year. Just go ask any old ex-Sun salegrunt how much fun it was selling his SPARC silo against a diversified hp that could do the storage, networking and monritoring software as well as the servers, all as one deal with one support arrangement. And PCs. Which I see as the problem - Leo should build up the software bizz before he starts cutting out the profitable PC bizz. Otherwise he risks beign the type of narrow-market failure that Sun became.

          /SP&L.

          1. asdf Silver badge
            Flame

            no motive

            except I love making fun of products that bomb horribly like the Itanium (wasn't x86_x supposed to be dead 5 years ago according to Gartner, wonder how much HP paid for that report) and the HP me too tablet (almost a M$ Kin size failure). Still yes HP makes shedloads of cash due to being diverse including the one of the biggest ink vendors. Burying SUN wasn't exactly hard they pretty much committed suicide with crap management.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Headmaster

        Largest IT company in the world?

        "Well, they are still the largest IT company in the World"

        In 2010, the former owners of the Thinkpad business (also the subject of a current Reg article) had about 100,000 more employees than HP, and they are still in the IT business.

        Just sayin'.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          RE: Largest IT company in the world?

          What, IBM hasn't laid them all off yet? Before your Big Blue sunglasses make you trip up and fall down the stairs, I suggest you take them off and look here:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_companies_by_revenue

          IBM is down at 57, only 28 places behind hp at 29. Enjoy!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Stop

            Define largest

            At the moment, Market cap. HPQ = 48.5B, IBM = 193.8B.

            2010 employee count HP = 325K, IBM = 427K.

            2010 net income HP = 8.8B, IBM = 14.8B.

            Revenue for 2010 was 100B for IBM, and 126B for HP, but IBM still managed to make more money.

            If it has more employees, higher market capitalization, and made more profit, I think it's fair to describe it as "larger." That's not a blue-coloured glasses opinion, it's just a normal definition of the word.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Happy

              RE: Define largest

              Hmmm, you're not convincing me here. So, in 2010, IBM made less revenue off more employees, but you think that was a good thing.....

              Either way, hp has a lot more product ranges than just PCs and phones, so the killing of the webOS devices (note - only the webOS devices, not the MS tablets) is not such a big deal as everyone wants to make out. If all hp did was make webOS phones then this would be a deathknell, but hp has fingers in many more pies. If all they did was make phones (like HTC) then it would be bad. If all they did was make consumer devices (like Apple) it would be pretty bad. But hp is massively diverse, so it's not really that bad.

              Interestingly, on the call that hp announced they'd kill the Touchpad they also (apparently) said they were still looking to make money out of webOS, which does imply they are looking at a license model.

              Or a Google/Apple patent troll model.

              1. toughluck
                WTF?

                @Matt Bryant

                Quite frankly, the last post is an insult to intelligence. Which of the three companies would you prefer to own (assuming you were looking for longevity):

                Company A, $100 bn revenue, $150 bn costs, $50 bn loss

                Company B, $80 bn revenue, $60 bn costs, $20 bn profit

                Company C, $50 bn revenue, $10 bn costs, $40 bn profit

                Going by your logic, you would believe company A has the best outlook of the three above.

    2. Spiff66

      That market is already taken

      That'll be IBM territory then. Except they'll flog you a mainframe too.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Happy

        RE: That market is already taken

        Exactly! That market is taken, by SAP, Oracle, IBM and Microsoft - mostly SAP and Oracle, and the IBM mainframe market is shrinking, but I understand IBM does sell quite a few software licences on hp servers. Leo is blithely dumping a profitable market (PCs) to concentrate on a market hp has very little presence in (enterprise business software), which is about as undiverse as you can get.

  9. GoingGoingGone
    Unhappy

    Just 5 hours

    can make a world of difference

    HP confirms faster, paler TouchPad tablet, 18th August 2011 15:00 GMT

    HP murders webOS tablets, phones, 18th August 2011 19:49 GMT

    Sad, if predictable, loss.

    1. Thomas 4

      Wow

      Just imagine if you were someone that bought a webOS tablet within that 5 hour timeframe, thinking of a bright, AppleDroid-free future.

  10. DJV Silver badge

    Hmmm...

    Wonder if it's going to be worthwhile picking one of these up for the peanuts they are now worth just in case they become collectors items later on!

  11. Sammy Smalls
    Childcatcher

    Maybe Nokia will buy WebOS

    They can build the hardware, they just need the software.....

    You never know.

    1. Goat Jam
      Facepalm

      Nokia to buy WebOS?

      There is not a chance in hades that Nokia would buy WebOS while they have that Microsoft stooge Elop at the helm.

      They already have Meego which they refuse to sell, why do you think they would go out and spend more money buying another Linux based OS when they are hellbent on drinking Redmond's Koolaid?

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      More likely

      Nokia has leapt in bed with Microsoft. If they're going to produce tablets it is more likely they'll be Windows branded tablets. I wouldn't be surprised if whatever deal Nokia & MS inked includes something about that too.

  12. Ilsa Loving

    I want one now!

    Ok, so now we wait for these things to flood the liquidation market, and then buy several to put in each room to serve as a convenient web based control panel to quickly check things like weather before you run out the door, etc.

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      You could just open the curtains...

      You could just open the curtains...

    2. Franklin

      A title is required

      "...and then buy several to put in each room to serve as a convenient web based control panel to quickly check things like weather before you run out the door,..."

      If they bundled in a control panel to let me quickly CHANGE the weather before I run out the door, I'd buy a dozen!

  13. Jemma Silver badge
    WTF?

    I thought the platform was supposed to be burning...

    *before* you jump off it into the fire...

    I mean seriously, how many idiots can you get in one industry?

    Google & Android depending on whom you listen to have either just kicked Apple in the nads so hard Steve Jobs balls are dangling from his ears like designer earrings... Or theyve committed ritual suicide.

    Apple are on the verge of realising that the collection of 12 year olds that bought the first iPhone are now older and want to be able to *use* that phone their own way, with their own decisions. Not to mention privacy of data.

    HP spend massive amounts on WebOS, and brought out credible and well accepted products. And then waited until their competitors are doing a maclaren and fighting amongst themselves. And then killed their only offering stone dead. Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Not to mention the chaps at Nokia... Ooh, we arent as pretty as the others, lets run round in circles flapping our hands, and hire someone from the doyenne of mobile devices. Microsoft - whose current offering has about as much chance of success as Elphinstone has of getting gazetted with the VC. Then, in a display of comedic ineptitude unrivalled in the annals of smartphone design, lets release arguably our best smartphones with an immediately prospective UI update that solves the popularity/UX issues and to put the tin hat on it, we'll kill that OS and its universally acclaimed successor to boot. And then, bitch about poor sales.

    Honestly, where on the planet do they find these people? Other companies spend their time trying to avoid bankrupcy. This lot seem to run leap and vault towards it as if its the ambrosia of the Gods and world domination combined.

    You know, if someone tells me tomorrow that HP have sold WebOS to Nokia I wouldnt be in the least surprised. It beggars belief that anyone so apparently gormless can make it to the level of executive without being found out.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Collection of 12 year olds?

      What planet are you on?

      12 year olds on my planet have nowhere near enough cash to splurge on a several hundred dollar phone.

      Not even close.

      You need to grab yourself a brown paper bag and breathe in and out in it for a bit.

      1. Bill Fresher

        freebies

        "12 year olds on my planet have nowhere near enough cash to splurge on a several hundred dollar phone."

        they don't need no money in london.

        just something hard, to bust in a shop window.

        innit.

    2. SisterClamp
      Devil

      Jemma...

      ...I think I'm in love with you.

      Meanwhile, I've already told hubby to wait, pick up two at bargain basement prices and we'll give them to the kids as Christmas presents. They are good kit, just half-baked at release and now a stupid knee-jerk reaction from incompetent twat managers is sending them to product hell. What can you expect though? Leo flunked programming (it was in his official SAP bio if anyone took time to read it) and is now head of one of the biggest IT companies in the world. WTF much? He probably thinks a pre-test loop is something you do in a cul-de-sac with a car you want to buy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Speaking of throwing money away

        "Meanwhile, I've already told hubby to wait, pick up two at bargain basement prices and we'll give them to the kids as Christmas presents."

        If you want to buy your kids something that has no ongoing value, may I suggest an assortment pack of chocolate bars.

        1. Cameron Colley

          RE: Speaking of throwing money away

          I don't know of many people who can flog off their kids' old toys at a profit. Don't kids generally use things until they're dead, or they're bored and hide them in a cupboard?

          Seriously, if you're already looking at the resale value of your kids' christmas presents when you buy them I'd hate to be one of your kids. I realise people aren't exactly rich right now, but that's tightness on a whole, strange, new level.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Stop

            Re: Speaking of throwing money away

            @Cam

            Actually I was thinking of value to the kids. Wasn't that the first thing to come into your mind?

            I think that says more about you than it does about me...

      2. RichyS
        FAIL

        @SisterClamp

        WTF has the ability to programme got to do with being able to lead an IT company? Most devs I know would be shit at that sort of thing. Too focussed on detail, not on the strategic.

        And if it was that way, then we'd see the most valuable tech company in the world led by Woz, not Jobs.

        Tit.

        1. SisterClamp

          That's...

          ..."Tits" to you, thank you! I still have 'em both!

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Mushroom

          Re: @SisterClamp

          "WTF has the ability to programme got to do with being able to lead an IT company? Most devs I know would be shit at that sort of thing. Too focussed on detail, not on the strategic."

          There must be more to life than stereotypes.

          The ability to *program* (and spell) might indicate a level of rigour that could serve an executive well - at least one who isn't thinking of ways of backdating his options and cashing out after having swung the axe yet another time.

          And let's be condescending to those "techs" and "devs": give them some more piecework, pat them on the head and tell them that they can't see the bigger picture. Except that when I was once told that I couldn't see the bigger picture, I could have given a long list of things that would have stopped the business taking a slow dive into the sun, whereas management were flailing around wondering about their partner agreements and their positioning.

          Most of Nokia could run the business better than Elop, for example. Or at least do no worse.

          Don't tell me: you have a business degree and the magic beans didn't work after all? There's a big picture there somewhere as well.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The power of the financial markets

    If they can get governments to give them billions of your money, shit little companies don't stand a chance when they can't fulfil the money grabbing greed.

  15. G2
    Mushroom

    HP grabs tantō, performs seppuku ...

    instead of nuking webOS it would be better imho to just release it as an open-source project... maybe this way android could use some bits from it and HP would get to use it for (a potential) future tablet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seppuku#Ritual

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The power of the financial markets

    If they can get governments to give them billions of your money, shit little companies don't stand a chance id they can't fulfil thier greed.

    1. dogged
      WTF?

      Nope

      I'm still not getting it. Could you try again and this time, try to state your comment a bit more clearly?

      It's only your second go; third time's the charm.

  17. Piloti
    WTF?

    Really... ?

    No more HP laptops ?

    My company has a corporate buying agreement with HP : 80000 people, 80000 laptops. I wonder what my next machine will be... ?

    I'm writing this on one now : an Elite Book. Good solid hardware. Some of the best on the market.

    Just one question : why ...?

    I'm not going to repeat the "why by Palm?" stuff above, but .,..... why ??????

    I really REALLY do not get this.

    Really don't.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Boffin

      RE: Really... ?

      I'd say it's about margin figures for growth. PCs (including laptops) make large revenue numbers but not that much margin, are expensive to manufacture (you need factories and warehouses and lots of people) and the stock can age (which means if you make too many you have to bin them when you make the next generation). But software gets written once, then you just need to update it and test it. No need for massive warehouses (anyone notice how hp is pushing all their software to e-LTUs, which means you're buying a download, so their expense is only a website and a licensing system) or factories, and since you're just cloning the copy on the download server there is no stock to age. And software has rediculous margins - just look at SAP and Oracle.

      Leo is keen on enterprise hardware (which has high margins and lots of associated sales pull-through), enterprise software (mega-margins, lower support costs) and services (though I'm not sure Leo actually gets services).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: Really... ?

        "And software has rediculous margins - just look at SAP and Oracle."

        Not arguing with anything other than your spelling here, but both of those companies are notorious for holding their customers' balls very firmly (and frequently the end-users' balls if you take the user experience into account, particularly with SAP's hateful applications). The stupid rich may seek out such solutions, and maybe for some there'll be no choice for a long time, but such stuff is ripe for a devaluation.

        Face it: this is HP's Elop moment. Bloke shows up from SAP, persuades the board to give into their lusts and desires (in this case, HP desperately wanting to be IBM so badly), and torches swathes of promising products in a value-destruction purge. Still, if HP ends up selling stuff off, the value will hopefully be realised elsewhere.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      WTF?

      Re:

      Gees!

      You will buy your 80000 laptops from whoever will pick up the PC biz.

      Just as with the IBM / Lenovo transition, the procurement contracts will be transferred and nothing will change overnight

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Didn't the Reg used to have an RIP icon?

    Sad news (although not as sad as what happened to Alpha). Not that I had, or particularly wanted, one - in part because of the hardware, in part because the app stores was so far behind - but I hate to see interesting tech disappearing. Perhaps Google could buy them for the patents?

  19. nyelvmark
    Unhappy

    HP have got billions of my money?

    I wondered where it went.

  20. MD Rackham

    Irony

    Not so autonomous now, are they?

  21. Mikel

    Waiting for the woot

    This is going to be a screaming deal on geek toys.

  22. Boz 1

    heh

    I have conflicting emotions at the moment. On one hand I'm happy. As I've been wanting a touchpad, but refuse to pay such a high asking price for it. And now that it is discontinued, I imagine the price will drop, sharply, shortly. But, on the other hand, I'm sad, as I'll have to rely entirely on the geek community for new apps and support. Come to think of it, maybe the negative aspect isn't so bad...

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Boffin

      RE: heh

      The 16GB model is going for £295 on Amazon. I'd probably buy one if they get down to £199, I'm not really bothered with the higher spec model as tablets like this are really more about consumption than production (and it has WiFi and Flash to help with the consuming). If I want a tablet for actual productive tasks it would probably be a bigger one like the hp Slate 500 (proper x86 CPU, Win7, more/better apps), and they're going around the £500 mark. Now, I wonder if anyone has put CentOS onto a Slate 500 yet.....

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        WTF?

        RE: RE: heh

        Now here's a funny thing - this morning the Bestbuy.com in the US website is flogging off the Touchpads at $99 and $199, but the UK site still has the 16GB model at £349 and the 32GB model at £429 (that's US$575.85 and US$707.85 for you ex-colonials)! Seeing as they're supposed to have only shifted 100 units in the UK, you would think the Bestbuy UK management would have dropped their prices as quickly as their US counterparts. Oh well, looks like I'll have to get a US model and an international charger and get them shipped over here.

  23. Bugs R Us
    Thumb Up

    There is room for 3 players

    ...in the mobile space. iOS, Android and Windows. That's it. Everything else cannot compete. So good riddance to WebOS and the rest.

    1. dogged
      Thumb Down

      I disagree

      Had Nokia done the sensible thing and bought Palm - and they threw that chance away pre-Elop, remember - it could have been a whole different story.

      As it is, we lose an alternative and an incentive to compete and innovate.

      And that is always bad.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        @Dogged

        Dogged, you are assuming that Nokia could have done a better job than HP in promoting the OS , and that they could have conjured up the Eco system people seem to need to see before they buy.

        If they had bought it at the time, they would have had two competing Linux based OS's, (including Maemo) would probably have spent years trying to merge them (so they could please all internal interests) plus more time making the whole thing QT based.

        Even if they had done that they would still have had to announce that Symbian was being discontinued in four years, and faced the massive drop in sales that appears to have exacerbated .

        What they did do, was hire the chap who designed the WebOS UI and set him to work on Symbian and Meego which was significantly cheaper. And they lied to themselves about how long it would take to fill in the missing pieced from Maemo and create an ecosystem, then they got distracted by the fairly pointlees partnership with Intel.

    2. Mikel
      Facepalm

      3 players?

      @Bugs R Us - You must be joking. How much investment is it going to take over the current level to pull mobile Windows up from 1% market share to something that makes a difference in the real world? $5B a year? 10? Has Microsoft even got enough money to pull this off?

      1. Armando 123

        You're right

        Mikel, you make sense, but we are talking Microsoft. They will spend whatever it takes until there is no hope. Remember PlaysForSure? Zune? All the money poured into XBox? etc? etc? etc?

  24. Goat Jam
    FAIL

    Good Greif

    Just yesterday I pointed out that HP's executards are failboys of the highest order, only for them to go and compound their fail with an extreme over-reaction to their initial fail.

    10 Billion for Autonomy? A British Search company that is virtually unheard of outside of the UK and/or the banking sector?

    I'm sure their enterprise search is good, they have some decent customers according to their site but 10 billion dollars?

    It makes Googles $12B for Motorola look like an astute purchase really.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      or

      UK, US and EU Government, the Military, health, pharmaceuticals - just because you have not heard of it....

  25. CyberCod

    As a former PC repair technician

    IMHO, HP should stop making laptops. They are not very good at it.

    As far as these tablets go, can they run Android?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Consultants and the marketing department

    massive palm os fan that just sadly watched it all get thrown away through the 90's and the noughties through successive regime changes who frankly didn't have a clue but i am sure have done well for themselves and their families with pensions and share options so thats ok...

    now i am an apple house and howl like you want but for me (a 40 something, 20 year plus HP-UX 10.20, 11, Solaris 8 etc etc and linux admin) it just works and thats what I want.

    I love technology and I want android to push IOS dev and vice verse and I just get tired seeing the crap that that is spouted on these forums about one technology being better than the other it's boring, christ its all great, buy what you want and deal with it be happy

    Rant over thank your for listening

    although of course we all know xz spectrum with a 32k ram pack and a kempston joystick hanging off the back was far better than a c64.........fight (I was a rich boy and had both!!)

    1. Jolyon

      Rich boy

      A proper rich boy would have had a BBC Micro with a 6502 second processor for the ultimate (at the time) Elite experience.

  27. MrHorizontal

    So...

    Will the spin off of the PC business be called Compaq or Digital Equipment Corporation or something nondescript like Lenovo?

    1. Nya
      Alert

      Re: So...

      Think it'll be called Microsoft Hardware division ;)

      Back in January there was a lot on the rumour mill that HP were getting rid of the hardware business to go all cloud service based and invention (which they've always been good at) in a kind of IBM model. Was also a load of rumours that MS was snuffling around them to go into the hardware business themselves. If this occurs sheesh it's going to shake things up in the market place. Throw in a Nokia buy out also and we oddly have what seem's like some kind of direction for both HP and MS.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        HP Invention?

        HP has long since abandoned invention come to think of it, it is no longer part of the logo either. Their labs is a shadow of its former self (although remarkably has managed to up the manager:doer ration :-), engineers in divisions get far less time to innovate ad the emphasis is all on growth through acquisition.

      2. chr0m4t1c

        @Nya

        Interesting thought, if you couple that with Google's recent purchase of Motorola you have the very real prospect of gPhone + gPad and mPhone + mPad from the other two 800lbs gorillas on the scene.

        I know Big G has said they don't plan to do anything with Moto, but I can't quite bring myself to believe that - because, well, what would be the point in spending all of that money? I think they're just making sure the likes of HTC and Samsung don't immediately jump off the Android ship before they can get some hardware developed.

        Nokia and HTC could be the biggest losers in all of this, HTC has never had its own OS to fall back on, they would almost certainly have to fork Android and Nokia are in the middle of putting theirs into the recycling bin, their best bet might be to see if they can get all of the crumbs and old teabags off Meego.

  28. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    Oh please lord

    Let the hive at HP do the right thing and let Autonomy drive. We're talking about a company that has been on cruise control for far too long. Groping around for a savior to hit one more home run and pulling them after two strikes and three balls. They are about as directionless as a company can be, it boggles the mind how they stayed alive for so long since their printers became doorstops.

    Let's do a test. Would everyone who has seen or heard an advertisement for a WebOS device please raise your hand? Ok, put your hand down if it wasn't on TV or radio. Good! Now both of you can put your hands down. Now let's do the same thing for Apple devices, hands if you've seen an ad. Ok and hands down if it wasn't on TV or radio... wait, isn't anyone going to put their hand down?

    Well, that confirms it. HP's marketing department is slightly worse than Palm's was and both were too focused on being an iPhone instead of making WebOS the best it could be. Seriously, how many man hours were wasted trying to sync with iTunes in the early days. I just hope all those HP are sure to let go find work quickly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      it was always said

      that HP would market ushi as cold, dead, wet fish - come and get it. Nothing much has changed.

  29. Adrian Esdaile
    FAIL

    Cheap tablets?

    Oh, no you don't!

    Correct corporate procedure in this case is to recall all shipped tablets and crush them with a bulldozer. If we can't make a profit out of them, NOBODY WILL! is a corporate mantra.

    cf. Beechcraft Starship for more details.

    Still it is astonishing to see such a big, allegedly well informed company go so horrifically off the rails. The phrase "couldn't lose money quicker if they simply shovelled it out the window" comes to mind.

  30. abubasim
    Meh

    Something else?

    Does this mean that your TouchPad competition (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/09/win_hp_touchpad/) is cancelled?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes Worksite

    And they already have TRIM in their fold.

    What will they do?

  32. TheRealRoland
    Meh

    You think there was much cheering going on

    in Cupertino?

    1. Armando 123

      Probably not

      Apple is probably already heads-down on their next thing. If they notice at all, it would probably be to say "Dang, that was quick" or "Hm, I wonder if X is looking for a job now. We could sure use ..."

  33. asdf Silver badge
    FAIL

    hmm a question

    Don't you generally want to find a buyer first before announcing your intentions? Wonder how nasty the Osborne effect is going to be on HP current quarter.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    title

    So, was the Palm purchase just a cheap way to get a few talented engineers and a whole slew of patents then?

    Make a token effort to use the product, ditch at first available opportunity and go on the patent troll hunt?

    I await the first "HP sues [insert tech company]" headline on el reg any time now.

  35. chairman_of_the_bored
    Joke

    They do have form

    HP acquires companies like dogs chase cars. Fun to do, but can't drive them when they catch them.

  36. Ascylto
    FAIL

    12345

    One had merely to look at who announced the product ...

    Who had it in his sweaty palms ...

    Why, Mr Ballmer, of course!

    FAIL right from the beginning.

  37. Adam T
    Facepalm

    Everyone forgot how to read? WebOS != dead (yet)

    Skimming does not equate to reading.

    "continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward."

    1. bamalam

      WebOS == dead

      If a company does not have the patience and confidence to develop products on the platform itself then why should anyone else invest further in it? Use in printers and fridges etc. will be of no consequence to anyone outside of HP.

  38. Tom Kelsall
    Stop

    Title

    Does anyone see any mileage/likelihood of HTC manufacturing devices which will run WebOS? HP haven't ditched WebOS, just the devices. They clearly realise it's not really what they're good at. HTC are (demonstrably) OS agnostic (HD7, Desire HD) to an extent and make excellent devices... and HP will be looking for a partner to sell WebOS.

    Whaddaya think?

  39. David Gale

    Baby and Bathwater?

    I'm still using a 2003 HP TC1100 tablet that's now happily running Windows 7. It's still my main mobile machine and I still use it to present video and other heavy-duty media in large, corporate and government presentations. I think we're used to HP throwing the baby out with the bathwater. They stole a march on the opposition with what is still the best tablet designed for business use and then promptly junked it. So, none of the current 'direction' should be of any surprise...

    David Gale

    CEO

    SITFO.org

  40. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    IBM wannabe

    This is all about HP wanting to be IBM and the board being weak and Apothecary or whatever not being up to the job of actually working with what he's got.

    And let's face it if they hadn't have turned up to the tablet Market a day late and a dollar short - particularly on the hardware front they coulda been a contender.

  41. Peter Gordon
    Unhappy

    RIP webOS

    I love my original Pre. I was going to get a Pre 3 early next year.

    You know what, I probably will anyway, and I reckon it'll be much cheaper.

    But i'll be a lot less happy about it.

    RIP webOS. You kicked ass, but HP kicked yours.

  42. Jonathan White

    hm.

    @Adamt - yeah, right. They're going to continue to develop the OS, even though they're not going to bother making any hardware that will actually run it. Good luck with that.

    1. Tom Kelsall
      Happy

      @JW

      See my post - I think HP will be looking for a partner who currently make handsets and tablets...

  43. Peter 48

    new owners?

    My money is on either Apple or MS buying the PC arm of HP. Apple could use it to rake in a large chunk of the laptop market and MS can use it to establish a bulwark and counterbalance to Apple - as well as give them something to actually sell in all these stores they insist on opening.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I can't see it.

      Apple buying anything of HP's, I mean. If you interview at Apple (or anywhere else hot or innovative in the Valley), and you've EVER worked for HP, it's a big disadvantage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        rubbish

        Given the number of people that have gone through HP in the Valley but are now elsewhere (name most companies) you are talking through your rear end...

  44. Jedibeeftrix

    Lol dammit! There goes my only serious alternative to the Nokia N9.

    Both WP7 and android now have heavyweight hardware vendors backing them, this makes it a dangerous business for Samsung et-al to rely on them as a third parties.

    With HP ditching their low-margin consumer hardware business WebOS for printers doesn't make much sense, so perhaps Samsung would like to buy WebOS?

  45. bamalam
    FAIL

    Short-sighted

    Like Nokia, HP fail to see that there is a vast market outside of the US where HP could advance their cause by not having to licence software which is outside their control. They need to look at the long game like Apple did in the mid-90's and not surrender control. There will be plenty who don't want Android or iOS and HTML5 would allow developers to develop well for this platform and others as well.

  46. Bango Skank

    ongoing value, upgrades, wtf?

    What the devil does one need "ongoing value" and "upgrades" for in a fondleslab that one is going to use mainly for entertainment, websurfing on the coach, and reading on the porch?

    It isn't a mainframe or a blade server, you won't upgrade it, and you won't trade it in on a newer model in a years time.

    The average user will get solid use out of it for a few years and then consign it to the shelf with all the other gadgets when the next shiny trinket comes along at the same time that the wallet has a little bulge.

    By all means, buy it if the price drops to the right point.

    1. Adam T
      Coffee/keyboard

      the faith is strong in this one

      Or is it blind?

      Being a reader of El Reg, you must be familiar by now of the foolhardiness of trusting initial release software?

      By all means, go ahead an waste money on something that may be bug ridden, missing features, and probably a target for hacking in the near future, with no promise of recourse or amendment.

      If you're thinking of buying so you can wipe the OS and install something else...well, that's a much better idea. But were you? Be honest now...

  47. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    "Number One Plus"?

    Wow. It was less than three months ago (May 23rd) that HP was bragging in the press about how their tablet was going to be "BETTER than #1--we're going to be #1 Plus!"

  48. 2cent

    Great savings and/or stupidity

    Great Savings

    This is great, the hardware will go on sale and somebody will make an Android version to run on it.

    Stupidity

    Make great industrial products and heavy duty web servers, have a great web based OS in hand, have many corporate clients, don't mix the three.

  49. Levente Szileszky
    FAIL

    Absolute clueless, worthless CEO with no vision sans stupid SAP model...

    ...which has nothing to do with HP whatsoever.

    HP's income ROSE by ALMOST 10%... of course, it does not matter to a classic corporate sh!tkicker like Apotheker who's only worried about his bonus.

    This idiot will DESTROY HP - he is already worse than that glorified faux saleswoman Fiorina was. Software company? Can you name one 'big hit' HP software solution?

    This software sales monkey has absolutely no clue about HP, platforms, enterprise solutions, storage, PCs or anything - he is as destructive as Steve "MS Trojan Horse" Elop at Nokia except he's doing it at a more horrifyingly lunatic mode.

    He has no clue about anything - well, not too surprising, he's ex-SAP after all - and you bet he has no clue about the future either sans trying to copy SAP's already

    This mad WebOS story clearly shows he is absolutely clueless, worthless and dangerous: who would think they can take on Apple with their first product especially when it's rushed out the door with glaring omissions like 2nd camera etc? Only idiots like Apotheker et al.

    This is about sticking around - look at Microsoft, they do it all the time: bleed a billion or so but next gen or third becomes a hit and gains very serious traction.

    Apotheker is absolutely clueless and has no balls or vision whatsoever.

    Mark my words: in 5 years HP will be either acquired or out of business

  50. Algis Petraitis

    HP to me is the good hardware company

    To me, HP brand associates only with good hardware. Good PCs, servers, storage, printers, now also good networking hardware with good support over lifetime. For many products, even in their primary business area HP is too big and too slow to compete, they just attach HP label to less known third party hardware, and that means "quality tested" for HP customers so they buy from HP.

    With current trends, I hope at least McDonalds is not planning to transform into consulting company for food industry...

    It only seems that life is always better in other places than you are currently. I hope HP can learn what it means for them to be a software company from their "webOS project". What about continuing hard work and becoming even stronger in areas HP is strongest today?

    To compete with Apple and Adroid ecosystems, any new product must be either substantially better and at similar price, or about the same features and much cheapier. Neither was possible from HP. Even Microsoft failed to create a third ecosystem, now they will try it again with Nokia and I think success chances are low unless they will create product much better than Apple.

    Also, over-priced and under-performing legacy technologies can only be sold to enterprises with relaxed IT spending controls (usually after attaching "Business critical" label). This strategy does not work with consumers who pay for products from their personal pockets...

  51. AdamWill

    Not to mention...

    "just weeks after the arrival of the TouchPad and a little more than a year after the company acquired the webOS mobile operating system from Palm in a $1.2bn purchase."

    Not to mention it was just hours after some poor cannon fodder from the open source division got up on his hind legs at LinuxCon and gave a presentation about how WebOS was going to change the world.

    Boy, did I feel sorry for that guy.

    At the start of the talk he explained how the relevant VP had really wanted to come and do the presentation but had 'come down sick'...heh.

    https://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/linuxcon/robb

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    HP management types are limp-brained, short sighted, panic-ridden idiots

    Morons.

    I really feel for the few real engineers still left at the company.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      RE: Not to mention...

      "......Boy, did I feel sorry for that guy....." Hehe, I wonder if his talk turns up on Youtube to haunt him!

      My fave was a veep from Sun that flew over to do a rah-rah special on us around UltraSPARC V, only a few days before the product was cancelled. I hear he was actually doing one of his customer talks about how committed Sun were, etc, to a bank somewhere in Europe, only an hour before the product was canned.

  53. Grubby

    A joke since Palm

    HP has been going through a pretty mental time since it bought PALM I think. They seem to have relied solely on the PC market for so long that the recent quick changes have caught them off guard and they've tried to buy anything and everything that may be 'the next big thing'.

    Nokia are another joke of a company. Giants who got too comfy at the top, arrogance sets in. BT, Lehman Brothers, Macy's, General Motors etc etc etc.

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