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HP Begins Laying Off WebOS Developers, Potentially Firing CEO 178

MrCrassic writes "Looks like it might be the beginning of the end for webOS presence at HP, as The Register announced that they laid off 525 webOS developers." From the article: "HP is laying off up to 525 staff from its global webOS hardware biz, according to reports. The tech titan confirmed last month it is shuttering the unit that produced the ill-fated TouchPad and Pre3 devices. 'As communicated on 18 August, HP will discontinue the development of webOS devices within the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, which ends 31 Oct 2011,' an HP spokesperson told AllThingsD in the US." So far it looks like just the hardware designers are being let go. The HP board happens to be meeting today, possibly to discuss firing the current CEO for failing to improve the company's financial prospects.
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HP Begins Laying Off WebOS Developers, Potentially Firing CEO

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  • by Ironchew ( 1069966 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:43AM (#37469064)

    ...that nothing they do makes any sense.

  • Hardware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tweezak ( 871255 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @11:47AM (#37469128)
    Note that the article says "hardware staff" not "WebOS Developers." Since HP is discontinuing hardware development for WebOS platforms this is not surprising. I suspect they will continue to own the operating system in hopes of licensing it to other companies.
  • They cant win... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @12:03PM (#37469300) Homepage

    Hp is a sinking ship that cant attract anyone that has any management skills. The current guy has a bad track record, and the possible replacement they are looking at, she's not much better.

    This is what happens when your products suck, your service sucks, and most people say, "HP? that stuff is crap, dont buy it"

    The only way to turn it around is to start "not sucking"....

    Step 1 - Fire every designer in the laptop division. Whoever green lighted the seamless trackpad should be tied up and whipped in front of all the other employees as an example.

    Step 2 - Fire every stylist in the PC division. Sorry but trendy = dumb and that failure of a removable drive bay needs to go. Anyone that says the word "proprietary" or "custom designed" needs to be smacked in the face without hesitation and the word "NO" yelled in their face.

    Step 3 - Fire everyone in the Printer driver division. IF the driver is not a simple small single file then it's garbage. No I dont want to install 160meg of helpers. Nobody does.

  • by pnewhook ( 788591 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @12:15PM (#37469446)

    They haven't done anything that made sense since they acquired that pile of crap Compaq.

    I'm wondering if the CEO will actually be fired, or just given another ridiculous golden handshake like was given to Carly Fiorina

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @12:18PM (#37469478)

    is the board.

  • Oh hell yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hellfire ( 86129 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `vdalived'> on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @12:40PM (#37469744) Homepage

    Does HP really want to give up that long-term cash flow to go chase its dreams?

    In a word, yes. In three words, oh hell yes.

    PC hardware is a commodity market and it's a mess. The upside that anyone can build a PC these days is a double edged sword, because just about anyone can build a PC these days, and the ones that do it the cheapest are the ones who win out. Margins are razor thin. High end desktops are a rare purchase. Mid-range desktops are only sold mostly to businesses when they don't need a laptop. Laptops are losing out to iPads and Macbooks now, which are solid alternatives at comparable prices, AND have better quality on average. HP is not making gobs and gobs of profit on hardware, only Apple, Samsung and HTC seem to be able to do that at the moment. Sure they might bring in $100 million in revenue but it cost like $99 million to make that. The numbers are exaggerated of course but the point is that HP sees that their hardware business is not making as much profit as you think, and it's the profit that's important.

    Look, IBM created the PC and it was their cash cow for years. They then established a business consulting branch to encourage people to buy their machines. Then Compaq came along and ate their lunch, and suddenly their cash cow went away. One day, someone realized "holy shit! Our consultants make more money than our hardware does. All we do is contract out the manufacturing work to some other bozo anyway, let's sell hardware and make consulting our new cash cow, and simply tell them to buy whatever hardware we feel like."

    What's funny is when IBM did this, similar things happened economically then that are happening now. 2001, the dotcom bubble bursts, 3 years later IBM sells it's hardware to work business to business. 2008, housing market crashes and 3 years later, HP gets out of hardware. In both situations, the average household consumer is hit hard and hurting, median middle class wages are practically stagnant and not keeping up with inflation, but corporate profits continue to rise in both instances.

    Follow the money, the money is in businesses paying businesses for business consulting to run their business more. Huge international companies selling to average consumers is folly compared to selling to business these days especially when all the money is in corporations and rich people's pockets (that's not some political slogan, that's just the truth). Sure HP could keep it's hardware, it's probably still profitable over all, but why work so hard at making a little money when you could work half as hard and still make a killing in business consulting?

  • by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @12:47PM (#37469836)
    WAIT! hp has employees other than management? I thought the entire company was nothing but contract personnel that they laid off one week a year to satisfy the laws about putting contractors in permanent positions. Perhaps they were required to retain the Palm staff as employees for x number of days...
  • Re:Hardware only.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pavon ( 30274 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @12:58PM (#37469954)

    if I remember correctly they stated that they will put it inside cars and other embedded devices

    Yeah, I read that too. Problem is that no-one has made any agreements with them to use the OS. So they are basically just pissing away money in the hope that someone somewhere might want to license the OS, without having any concrete plans for it.

    Oh, and multitouch should be banned from car dashboards. It is the worst possible interface for that situation as requires constant focus on the display for the entire time it is being used, and thus causes far more driver distraction than physical knobs.

  • by hattig ( 47930 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @01:27PM (#37470290) Journal

    Sure, you can make the figures look good in the short term by slashing R&D and firing everybody, but in the longer run you have no new products coming down the line.

    Bye bye HP. In ten years time you'll be a niche printer ink seller.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday September 21, 2011 @03:55PM (#37471882) Journal

    "Hp is a sinking ship that cant attract anyone that has any management skills.

    Would you work there?

    That is the problem. Your steps just address the symptoms not the problem. The problem is all the good employees quit or were canned. Your steps are examples of cheap and bad employees who couldn't get hired elsewhere. I have a great HP monitor that has amazing color contrast and response time. Part of HP's great engineering of old. Today only the bean counters are compensated well.

    The problem is a company's #1 are its good employees. Notice I did not say employees. I said good employees. They are an asset and not a liability/cost center. If they are then it is best you focus them on flipping burgers as in the I.T. world you need compentent people.

    HP is screwed and no they wont be a IBM/Sap powerhouse with great consultants. A good one would refuse to work at HP and be treated like cattle from some kid with an assocates in accounting pointing a finger about costs etc. If HP can't even manage their own company, why would I hire them to help manage mine?

    They are done and in 5 years they will be out of business

The absent ones are always at fault.