HP Gives Palm Hardware Engineers Pink Slips

Layoffs are underway for the Palm division at Hewlett Packard, which had acquired the Palm brand, hardware division, and webOS software. The layoffs affect the webOS hardware business only as HP is retaining the software division and is only closing off its hardware business.

Most recently, the HP webOS hardware team was responsible for releasing the HP Veer 4G smartphone, the HP Pre 3–which never debuted in the U.S., and the HP TouchPad tablet.

According to All Things D, HP intends on laying off as many as 525 employees though the company declined to give a specific number. The company announced on August 18 that it would end its production of hardware for webOS devices and the hardware business would wrap up at the end of the fourth fiscal quarter, which ends on October 31st.

The company says:

“As part of this decision, the webOS GBU is undergoing a reduction in workforce. Today’s actions are part of this initiative. During this time, we stand by our commitment to our webOS customers and will work to ensure that support and service for customers are not adversely affected. HP is exploring ways to leverage webOS software.”

With the non-success of the Palm acquisition, this would be HP’s second foiled attempts at integrating another mobile brand within its company. In the Palm PC days, HP had created HP Jornada PDA devices utilizing Microsoft’s mobile platform, which later evolved to be called Windows Mobile. Through the evolution of the PDA era, HP acquired rival Compaq and its iPAQ line, killing off its Jornada brand in favor of the iPAQ business. However, faced with strong competition from HTC, HP never took the iPAQ business further than the PDA era and killed off the iPAQ brand when smartphones began taking off, marking numbered days for standalone digital assistants without integrated voice or data connectivity. With the Palm acquisition, HP never gave webOS the time it needed to mature and test the market. Its fire sale for the TouchPad, which was sold for as low as $99, demonstrated that there’s consumer demand for the elegant OS and hardware if priced accordingly against rivals, such as Apple’s iPad and slates running Google’s Android OS.

Comments

  1. HP Veer Unlocker says

    You speak about pricing the TouchPad and Veer correctly against the iPhone and other competitors to drive sales but this situation here is different. The reason that there is such strong demand is that HP had a firesale and priced the devices so low that they would just get rid of them quickly. But this is good because now the market is full with Veer units and my hard work is hopefully paying of (I developed the PalmUnlocker ( http://www.palmunlocker.com/ ). I just hope that a company such as HTC will take over WebOS and position the OS with new devices and improvements in the market the way it should have been done. WebOS truly has a great community and it is too much to give up on…

  2. MikeS says

    There is a HUGE untapped community that could turn into INSTANT MARKETSHARE, but that segment has been abandoned by Palm … namely PalmOS users. If WebOS included emulation to run PalmOS apps, it would regain droves of users who are reluctantly still searching for Android and iPhone apps to replace the PalmOS apps that they have become dedicated to with years of allegiance … myself included. I’ve jumped ship to the Android platform last year, but my Palm Treo still sits on my desk. I like Android, but I love PalmOS, and it will take Android a few more years to gain the maturity and loyalty that PalmOS has.

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