HP not making smartphones, says CEO Mark Hurd

HP's acquisition of Palm has unleashed a torrent of speculation about how they're going to use the various and numerous technologies of Palm in future products. As multi-functional and global HP is, with big fingers in pretty much every area of enterprise and consumer technology, they have yet to break into the mobile device market. Every market, from million dollar enterprise class virtualized storage area networks to modest netbooks and desktop printers, has HP competing; telecommunications has never been something they've shown interest in. It's clear then why buying Palm, the once venerable creator of the precursor to the smartphone, the PDA, turned some heads. With their vast resources and a newly acquired mobile OS that has been reviewed well all over, trying their hand in the mobile phone market seemed like a great idea.

ZDNet reports that HP CEO Mark Hurd has effectively quashed the mobile device speculation. In a presentation at the Bank of America Merril Lynch technology conference, Hurd emphasized that HP will not be entering in to that market. 

"We didn’t buy Palm to be in the smartphone business. And I tell people that, but it doesn’t seem to resonate well. We bought it for the IP. The WebOS is one of the two ground-up pieces of software that is built as a web operating environment…We have tens of millions of HP small form factor web-connected devices…Now imagine that being a web-connected environment where now you can get a common look and feel and a common set of services laid against that environment. That is a very value proposition."

It's been rumored that HP will be shipping its yet to be released tablet, the HP Slate, with WebOS installed. As the legal teams are not yet finished with the acquisition, a claim like is impossible to verify. However, HP has emphasized many times that the value of Palm is in their intellectual property rather than their hardware patents, according to Cnet. HP, already a leading technology hardware producer, is mainly interested in products like WebOS to further integrate with their already successful and established line of hardware products.

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19 Comments

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Why would HP want to use Palm's hardware tech? HP is quite comfortable with the low quality of hardware HP itself builds now...

It's very surprising that HP is buying Palm and completely denying any interest in the smart phone business! The WebOS push will be interesting for sure. But I'll miss Palm, I thought they made great phones and hoped that HP would develop a smart phone after this acquisition. Why is the HP CEO showing no desire to enter the smart phone business?

TuneUp Utilities said,
It's very surprising that HP is buying Palm and completely denying any interest in the smart phone business! The WebOS push will be interesting for sure. But I'll miss Palm, I thought they made great phones and hoped that HP would develop a smart phone after this acquisition. Why is the HP CEO showing no desire to enter the smart phone business?

I have had friends that had Palms and have to say that they did develop nice phones. They felt like good quality... Unfortunately, with HP involved, if they DID release phones, the quality would go in the toilet...

They should continue with the smartphones, and include the WebOS with their devices as they have planned, but... get rid of the smartphones?

P.S. what's plam?

Maybe that way they'll have more chances of succeeding, considering how saturated the smartphone market is right now.

Hurd also has some really fantastic comments about the role of the CIO and the pressures on todays CIOs/CEOs in that article. He's one of the most upfront CEO's I know of (we want more, we want it now, I want it to just work and I want it cheaper).

Let's see....HP bought a company that makes a damn good smartphone OS.....and they decided to NOT make smartphones.

Smart decision there

Honestly, I was hoping for HP to use their impressive clout in the enterprise to make a WebOS powered competition against RIM. RIM has a strangle-hold on the corporate mobile device market, mainly due to the BES platform. HP could so outdo them. I guess they aren't anymore.

Am I the only one who sees this as a good decision. Granted they should continue to operate the smartphone part of Palm, but HP having their own in-house OS to use across all their devices? Thats a brilliant move. Especially considering the quality of webOS compared to the others out there. HP will position themselves to be the Apple of pc-world. One of the few who do both hardware and software.

Xero said,
Am I the only one who sees this as a good decision. Granted they should continue to operate the smartphone part of Palm, but HP having their own in-house OS to use across all their devices? Thats a brilliant move. Especially considering the quality of webOS compared to the others out there. HP will position themselves to be the Apple of pc-world. One of the few who do both hardware and software.

HP's tried software before, but it was horrendous (The touch Windows 7 Computer they had is an example). Hopefully the Palm acquisition will improve their quality, but I really don't expect this since Palm is bleeding talent now...

What a dumb ASSSSS! ... you buy a smartphone company and don't make phones???

ahh.. my hearts broken now.. i was really looking forward for some hp+plam mutation.. guess thats never gonna happen now!!..

Someone needs to fire that guy!

Well, they completely ****ed up the chance they had with the iPaq brand... Still, the original iPaq was an HTC device