There were big cheers in the PC industry when HP announced Thursday that it was going to keep its PC business in-house. But there may not be much in the way of a celebration over at the webOS division. The Guardian reports via unnamed sources that HP could shut down the webOS business after acquiring the operating system, along with Palm, for $1.2 billion back in April 2010; 500 people at HP could lose their jobs if such a decision is made.
One unnamed webOS employee is quoted in the article as saying, "There's a 95 (percent) chance we all get laid off between now and November, and I for one am thinking it's for the best." One big clue that change is coming is the fact that the vice-president of webOS worldwide developer relations Richard Kerris has left the company to join Nokia.
HP has said in the past it was committed to developing webOS even if it would no longer sell webOS-based hardware devices such as the Palm Pre smartphones and the HP TouchPad which crashed and burned earlier this summer. However, all of that talk was before HP brought in new CEO Meg Whitman a few weeks ago and she seems to not be shy about shifting HP's previous roadmap.
Indeed Whitman has already said HP plans to release new tablet products but they will be running Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system. With that kind of statement there doesn't seem to be much room for HP to hold onto a rival operating system like webOS.