HP today announced that will discontinue operations for its webOS devices, effectively removing iPhone and iPad competitors such as the Pre line of phones and touchPad tablet computer from the market. “HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones,” reads a statement from the company. “HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.”
Notably, the same press release states that the company is exploring alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG), where former Apple executive Jon Rubinstein now serves as senior vice president of product innovation. Options for the group, which is responsible for business and consumer PCs, mobile computing devices and workstations, include a full or partial separation from HP “through a spin-off or other transaction,” suggesting that HP will exit the hardware businesses for computers, phones, and tablets in the near future. Should the webOS software team be joined with the PSG, it could create an organization similar to Apple, leaving products such as enterprise services and software under the HP banner. However, the announcement may signal a substantial liquidation of HP’s patents or hardware businesses, which would be a stunning blow to a previously strong rival to Apple’s various businesses.