HP made their quarterly fiscal report today and announced that they planned to discontinue operations for webOS devices including their TouchPad and webOS (formerly Palm) phones. Wow.
In the press release, HP did leave the door open stating they will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward. What this means is anyone's guess. As our friends at PreCentral note, HP is discontinuing operations for webOS devices, not the OS itself.
Could we see HP follow suit and license out webOS to, say, HTC? Could HP take advantage of all the headaches/litigation Android is creating and offer manufacturers an alternative? Personally, I just don't see HP giving up on webOS after, only a year ago, spending $1.2 billion to acquire the system. On the other hand, who is interested in licensing an OS that has failed to catch on? Twice.
What does this mean for everyone else? I'm not sure if it will really impact Microsoft, Google, Apple or RIM. While webOS devices have a strong following, they were on a downhill slide when HP acquired Palm and never took off. With Mango just around the corner, Microsoft may be able to attract Pre customers with webOS's future being uncertain.
As a former Palm user (still have my first Palm Pilot) I hope HP finds a way to keep webOS as a viable system. One thing is for certain though, it seems these days the smartphone industry is constantly changing.
You can read HP's full press release on their quarterly report after the break.
Update: The Verge confirms that HP is not killling WebOS as a platform and they are looking for partners and options. In short, they're killing HP's attempt at hardware noting that they need to stop putting under-performing hardware in the market. Still, WebOS's future, even as an OS, obviously remains in dire straits.