Hours after news broke that Hewlett-Packard was considering a spin-off of its PC business, the company also said that it will discontinue support for webOS devices, including the TouchPad tablet. The move also affects webOS-based smartphones. Just last month, HP said it planned to take webOS "global" by naming Steven DeWitt, the head of HP's PC business in the Americas, to lead the WebOS business. Jon Rubinstein, the man who led webOS, was also shifted to senior vice president for product innovation within HP's Personal Systems Group (PSG), which oversees its PCs. HP today said it was exploring "strategic alternatives" for PSG, including a spin-off or other transaction.” – PCMag
OK, I understand that HP only wants to deal with enterprise scale systems and sees stable bucks that way. HP’s PC owners don’t have much to be afraid of since one way or another they’ll be supported.
What was less comprehensible was dumping the “TouchPad” (they’re sitting on a big inventory and offering $100 discounts to buyers). These things looked good, and truly multitasked. Hell, they bought PalmOS for $1.2 billion only a year ago! For those who don’t know, WebOS is based on the PalmOS.
So what’s the deal? Why? Their profitability is good, in the $30 billion per year range.
Then this came to light from Baird and Associates Research:
1. Apple’s iPad remains the item: 93% of tablet owners own an iPad and 94% of potential buyers are considering an iPad. HP comes in a poor second at 10.4% (considering buying).
2. Tablets are viewed as personal devices although 67% viewed possible professional use and only 21% in academic useage where PC usage for large projects would be used.
3. PC cannibalization rate: 17% therefore 83% are saying we’ll be using PC’s for the foreseeable future.
4. Respondents in the 50-60 age group seem slightly less dependent on PCs, with 78% of respondents believing they can do without a computer either today or in the future.
5. Unsurprisingly, 67% of tablet users ranked Web Browsing/Email/Social Networking as their number one tablet use. Although a higher number of respondents listed eBooks as their number one tablet use, a larger percent of respondents listing Photo/Video use as their number two and three uses, pushing Photo/Video into second place. We also note that heavy content creation (use of Microsoft Office, Photoshop, etc.) was at the low-end of responses for tablet usage. We believe difficulty with heavy content creation is one of the largest inhibitors to more pervasive adoption.
The rest really isn’t germane to what’s going on. Now it’s true that their sample was weighted towards mid-west males, in truth I don’t know if more even distribution would have yielded much of a difference.
People want iPads, not much of anything else. For Apple to really kill the PC and Windows OR for another tablet to kill Apple, it’ll have to have to have all of iPad’s current capability, lots more storage, and the ability to handle large programs and graphic apps.
Steve Jobs apart from hating buttons, has no interest in doing that. In fact, if he wants to continue selling Airbooks, Macs, iMacs, and Mac Pros he won’t.
So, the way I look at it – the one who does is going to win big time.
And that’s why HP quit for the time being. They’ll probably continue to look at WebOS and develop stuff, but my suggestion? Do the R&D to make parts smaller and smarter so you can pack a desktop into a pad and that’s the way to go…. It’ll handle business, school, connectability, and gaming.
What do you think?
*edit - I.D. has published on this surprising move as well: https://forums.wincustomize.com/411337