HP Is Comfortably Numb

"Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me,
Is there anyone home?"
-- "Comfortably Numb," by Pink Floyd, The Wall (disc 2)

I guess Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) won't be needing quite as many webOS employees after killing its hardware half.

According to AllThingsD, the company has confirmed that "the webOS [Global Business Unit] is undergoing a reduction in workforce" as a result of the decision. HP added: "we stand by our commitment to our webOS customers and will work to ensure that support and service for customers are not adversely affected. HP is exploring ways to leverage webOS software."

The company opted not to detail a headcount for the layoffs, but other sources pegged the figure at around 525 unlucky employees receiving pink slips.  This round of layoffs contrasts with HP ex-CEO Mark Hurd's cost-cutting; this time the casualties are the result of CEO Leo Apotheker's entirely new direction for the iconic tech giant.

HP continues its recent habit of making vague statements about the future of webOS, leaving the market to its own devices to speculate over the destiny of the platform. webOS has shown twice before that it can't compete against Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iOS and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Android. What company is bold enough to think it can make it work with a third attempt by buying or licensing it? Is there anybody out there?

As tough as it would be, I think the company needs to ax webOS entirely and put an end to the saga, as opposed to perpetuating management's current comfortably numb stance on webOS. Apotheker might even get away with chalking that one up to his predecessor, since it was under Hurd's watch that HP scooped up Palm from its deathbed.

People make mistakes. Buying Palm was a mistake. Deal with it.

Fool contributor Evan Niu owns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and Google and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On September 20, 2011, at 10:50 PM, southjersey310 wrote:

    webOS has shown twice that it can't compete? The first time Palm didn't have the resources for it to compete. The second time HP never gave it the chance to compete. The overwhelming opinion among those in the industry is that webOS is a better OS than iOS. Years ago, with the growth and market dominance of Microsoft, who would have ever thought that Apple would compete?

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