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Move is the latest step in webOS's painful death march

If webOS fans are to be believed, Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ) is killing a good thing.  

While never achieving mainstream sales success on the magnitude of its competitors, webOS did generate a great deal of enthusiasm for its slick multitasking and other forward-thinking features.  But HP pulled the plug on all webOS hardware in August.  A leadership change with ex-eBay, Inc. (EBAY) CEO Meg Whitman replacing embattled CEO Léo Apotheker did nothing to reverse this process.  And HP's layoffs of the webOS team have decimated the beloved OS's prospects.

Now webOS may have been dealt its final deathblow.  HP Chief Strategy Officer Shane Robinson was reportedly the sole party to object to killing webOS entirely after HP decided to kill the device lineup.  He argued to hang onto webOS and continue some development to keep the door open for future opportunities.

But on Thursday HP announced that Mr. Robinson was about to retire after eleven years with the company.  With Mr. Robinson's depart on November 1, the last major support of webOS will vanish, paving the way for HP to bury the technology for good.

Shane Robinson
Shane Robinson was webOS's last lion.  Now he's retiring. [Source: NAB 2007]

In its press release, HP praised Mr. Robinson's accomplishments, commenting:

In his role, he was responsible for shaping HP's corporate strategy and technology agenda.  He was instrumental in steering the company's multibillion-dollar research and development investment and has led many of the company's largest merger and acquisition activities.

New CEO Meg Whitman called Mr. Robinson a powerful innovator, but said that his position would not be filled.  Instead it will be dissolved in what HP claims is "an effort to drive strategy, research and development closer to the company's businesses."

As for webOS, as they say, "it's not over till the fat lady sings", but with Mr. Robinson out of the picture at HP, it looks like that lady has started her warmups for the final act.

Source: HP





"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer



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