Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

HP’s Apotheker: We Struck Out With webOS, but Maybe Someone Else Wants a Swing

HP divest

If that was HP’s pitch to find a buyer for webOS, it might want to work on it a bit.

In a conference call with analysts, CEO Léo Apotheker talked about all of the ground that Hewlett-Packard failed to gain and how fast-moving the marketplace is. Earlier on Thursday, HP said it was getting out of the webOS hardware business and exploring what to do with the software.

“We see too long a ramp-up,” Apotheker said on the call, which is still going on.

But in the next breath he suggested maybe someone else might want to try out the innovative, differentiated software.

CFO Cathie Lesjak largely reiterated Apotheker’s dual message, but added some grim financial numbers to the mix, indicating that the webOS unit was the cause of hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and threatened to cause an even bigger loss next quarter had the company continued to move forward with its strategy.

Not that long ago, of course, HP saw all kinds of options for the software, promising to put it on all manner of PCs and printers, not to mention tablets and phones.

Just what HP is trying to do with webOS in terms of selling it or licensing it is not clear. Richard Kerris, the former Apple executive brought in by HP to head developer outreach efforts, held out hope a buyer might be found.

“(WebOS) is an awesome software platform and now we can explore the best hardware partner for it,” Kerris said in a Twitter posting.

Update: In the question-and-answer session, Apotheker suggested that the company really isn’t sure what the future of the software might be, saying it is open to “all possible business models from licensing to any other possibility.”

Related posts

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work