Paper says HP will kill webOS; HP calls report 'unfounded'


— 9:36 AM on October 31, 2011

A lot of folks breathed a sigh of relief when HP said it would hold on to its PC business last week. The company's webOS software is still in limbo, though. The uncertainty surrounding that operation is breeding talk that HP could kill off webOS entirely, although HP claims it's still in the process of deciding the software's fate.

On Friday, British paper The Guardian said it had word from company insiders that webOS was, indeed, likely doomed:

No such statement has been made about the webOS group - but top-level staff have been leaving it and the Guardian understands from internal HP sources that staff within the group expect imminent closure. "There's a 95% chance we all get laid off between now and November, and I for one am thinking it's for the best," one webOS employee told the Guardian. That would affect more than 500 jobs.

The Guardian said webOS staffers could be either laid off or moved "elsewhere inside the company." It went on to cast doubt over a potential sell-off to Amazon or another third party, saying it wasn't clear whether anyone was actually interested.

In an interview with Bloomberg, however, HP Personal Systems Group Executive VP Todd Bradley called the Guardian story an "unfounded rumor." He added, "Our focus with webOS is how we effectively utilize that phenomenal software and the phenomenal talent that we have in that piece of our business." Bradley didn't go into more detail about how HP plans to go about doing that, though.

   
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