HP announced this week that it was exiting the hardware business. Almost, that is. HP announced its intention to spin off the Personal Systems Group and to also discontinue the Palm hardware that it bought (for 1.2 billion US Dollars) last year.
The Personal Systems Group is the division responsible for the computers. Right now, HP is the worlds number one manufacturer of personal computers. From desktops to laptops and all form factors in between, HP leads them all. The quality may be in question, but the dominance is not.
HP stated that it wants to get into software and services, much like IBM has done, in a big way and have already started that journey with the purchase of Autonomy for ten billion-yes, 10 BILLION, US Dollars. Autonomy provides infrastructure software and services for nearly 25,000 customers worldwide.
The divestiture of the hardware line would allow HP to concentrate its efforts on developing itself into a services company.
The discontinuation of the Palm line is not overly surprising. When Leo Apotheker took over the realm of HP, the writing was on the wall. It was not his deal and never seemed to fully support it. It seems the goal of having webOS in every device imaginable is now the thing of legend. While HP has stated it is not abandoning webOS, what kind of future could the OS have?
The hardware line from Palm was weak and never took off and even with an HP fully behind it, it was going to face an uphill struggle. With the ill-timed release of the TouchPad, the writing was on the wall. HP, it seems, could not give them away. Best Buy, reportedly, took an inventory of 270,000 TouchPads to sell, but could manage to sell only 25, 000 of the slate devices.
What this all means is still a big unknown but if you own a webOS device, I’d suggest getting an Android replacement or, if you can find one, a Windows Phone 7 device. And when that HP computer needs to be replaced, buy a Dell or Acer.