HP drops a bomb on Palm and webOS

Hewlett-Packard Co. just dropped a bombshell — Palm and webOS are effectively dead. The company just announced that it will stop selling devices based on the webOS platform it acquired from Palm less than 16 months ago for $1.2 billion.

In addition to preliminary results for the recently closed quarter, the statement from HP said it “plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”

Unless HP can find a manufacturer to license webOS, which might stand a little higher chance following Google Inc.’s planned $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., the platform is effectively dead.

HP released the TouchPad, it’s first webOS-based tablet, less than two months ago, and some Palm smartphones are still in the wings waiting to be launched. Apparently that wait is over.

Much has changed for Palm’s fortunes at HP after the quickly fading company was acquired just as everyone expected the company to fold entirely.

After waiting nine months to announce its plans for Palm and webOS following the acquisition, HP unveiled the TouchPad, the Pre 3 and Veer in early February.

What a difference six months makes. At the drawn-out, star-studded press event, HP also said it planned to bring webOS to PCs and other connected devices beyond tablets and smartphones. The popular opinion at the time was that HP might be looking to leverage webOS as a platform across all of its products.

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