Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

HP to Cut 275 in webOS Division as Part of Refocus on Software

Looks like IBM isn’t the only large tech company firing people today. Word is emerging of more cuts at Hewlett-Packard’s webOS division. I’m told 275 people in that group lost their jobs today, most of them based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

This would be the second round of cuts in the webOS group. The first came in September and affected about 500 people, bringing the total to about 775 since former CEO Léo Apotheker announced HP’s intention to end production of webOS hardware, after sales at Best Buy and other retailers failed to gain traction.

The webOS business has been a particularly difficult subject at HP. The company acquired Palm for $1.2 billion in 2010 under former CEO Mark Hurd. In a November filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, HP said about half of a $3.3 billion in write-down came in the webOS unit.

HP just issued the following statement on the subject and it appears that some will get a chance to be redeployed elsewhere within the company. But make no mistake, most of those affected are being laid off:

“As webOS continues the transition from making mobile devices to open source software, it no longer needs many of the engineering and other related positions that it required before. This creates a smaller and more nimble team that is well-equipped to deliver an open source webOS and sustain HP’s commitment to the software over the long term.

HP is working to redeploy employees affected by these changes to other roles at the company.”

The cuts come after two key events in the webOS group’s recent history. One was the departure of former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein, which was first reported by AllThingsD on Jan. 27.

Before that came the decision, announced in December by HP CEO Meg Whitman, to take the webOS software that Palm had developed and turn it into an open source project.

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”