HP CEO Meg Whitman, in an interview with CRN was recently quoted as saying that WebOS will eventually turn out to be better than both iOS and Android in the long run. These comments are surprising considering the fact that HP first bought Palm for $1.2 billion in 2011 and then within a span of a few months discarded the entire WebOS lineup, unable to bring out even one moderately successful device on the platform (not counting the Touchpad, which went on a firesale).
Whitman’s comments come on the back of news of several lead WebOS designers and Palm executives leaving HP for greener pastures. Most of these Palm employees had been locked into a one year agreement to stay with HP when the company was acquired in 2011. With the one year period now over, many have now left for other companies like Google and Microsoft. The most prominent of these departures has been that of Palm’s former CEO, Jon Rubenstein, who announced his resignation recently. Most developers and employees were already quite disillusioned with the future of the platform after HP declared the Touchpad firesale and the subsequent withdrawal of all WebOS devices from the market. The announcement of the release of WebOS as an open source platform was probably the final nail in the coffin.
HP’s CEO was further quoted as saying that though WebOS has suffered a number of setbacks in the last few months, the platform is alive as ever in the hands of the open source community. According to her, the platform will do exceedingly well in the market considering the closed source nature of iOS and the semi-open source nature of Android which is poised to become even more closed with Google’s acquisition of Motorola.
Whitman also talked up HP’s relationship with Intel and Microsoft and said that all things considered, there was still space in the market for another OS. She asked consumers to make a final judgment call on the platform a year from now, and said that she was confident that returns will begin to show in the next three years or so. The CEO also took the opportunity to allay any concerns about HP’s Personal Systems Group, which the company had announced would be spun off but was later reversed. Saying that uncertainly was harmful to both the company and its shareholders, she reiterated that the reversal of the decision to spin off the PSG division had been taken in quick time, and the company was committed to the same.