After RIM and Microsoft, Apple has taken out another old technology giant this week, Hewlett-Packard. In a dramatic turn of events, the world’s largest PC vendor announced last night that it’s discontinuing all of its WebOS products, including the recently launched TouchPad and its Pre Smartphones, and will be looking to spin off its computer business.
The motive behind this decision? The iPad. Indeed, the TouchPad hasn’t sold, almost at all, and the PC business has been slowing down over the last few years as consumers move to iPads (and probably Macbooks). As explained by HP’s CEO Leo Apotheker:
“Consumers are changing the use of their PC. The tablet effect is real and sales of the TouchPad are not meeting our expectations. The velocity of change in the personal device marketplace continues to increase as the competitive landscape is growing increasingly more complex especially around the personal computing arena, the tablet effect is real”.
In other words: the iPad effect is real and we can’t compete.
Officially, WebOS will remain alive somewhere at HP, where they’ll be figuring out what to do with it. In a way, HP is just delaying the platform’s death as they probably can’t afford to fire all the WebOS and Ex-Palm folks at the same time. Either way, this is Game Over. As for HP itself, it’ll keep making printers, and refocus the rest of the company around software and services. Basically, they want to become another IBM… a certain (but still profitable) death.
For Apple fans, this is a big a loss and to be honest, it makes us kinda sad. We’ve all been expecting that the iPad will kill regular computers/PCs eventually, but nobody ever imagined it would start happening that fast. Also, WebOS was the worthiest competitor to iOS out there, and it had some great ideas. Apple, as good as its products are, could always use some competition and seeing such a great competitor give up is probably not good for consumers. Only time will tell.