Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Whitman: HP Decision on webOS Coming Within Two Weeks

Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman just gave an interview to Le Figaro, a French newspaper, saying that a decision on what to do with HP’s webOS software will come within the next two weeks.

Here’s the key quote, courtesy of Google Translate:

What will you do with your operating system webOS?

We should announce our decision in the next two weeks. This is not an easy decision, because we have a team of 600 people which is in limbo. We need to have another operating system.

Also in the interview, Whitman concedes that if iPads count as PCs, as the research firm Canalys has argued, then Apple will likely overtake HP as the world’s top vendor of PCs. But she says HP would try to retake the crown in 2013.

Whitman is in Europe for an HP corporate event in Vienna, at which HP made some big announcements on the enterprise IT front, specifically around a new concept it calls “information optimization.”

The interview, in the original French, is here; a fair translation into English is here.

When we last heard from Whitman on the subject of webOS, she admitted she wasn’t sure what to do. On Nov. 8, she told an all-hands meeting of HP’s webOS team that she was still mulling over the situation.

Having failed to get any traction in hardware sales, HP killed the TouchPad and all the other webOS-running hardware on Aug. 18. Yet in killing it, HP managed to make its TouchPad device suddenly popular — at a reduced price.

Whatever the result, the whole $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm — which created webOS — has turned out be a bit of a mess for HP. On its earnings call last week, the company said that it is writing off $1.66 billion related to the winding down of the webOS business. Decisions, decisions.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald