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  (Source: Gigaom)
Computer maker says no to progress, drops another shovel of dirt on webOS's grave

In a further blow to those hoping for a webOS revival Jon Rubinstein, the iconic Palm CEO who supervised the creation of the webOS-powered Pre, has been released from his executive post at Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ).  

I. A Failure of Vision

HP has been on a mess roller coaster ride over the last year shuffling CEOs and even contemplating spinning off the heart of its company -- the consumer PC business.  The change in leadership has also led HP to effectively abandon its hope of being a viable player in the mobile tablet/smart phone space.

The company blew $1.2B USD to acquire Palm Inc. in April 2010, in what seemed like a promising move for both companies at the time.  Palm still had a legion of firm supporters, and while it was no longer the iPhone competitor it was once was (and which Android became) it still had a shot.

That shot was killed by HP's floundering board and hapless new executive leadership.  The webOS product line was officially discontinued in Aug. 2011.  Meanwhile HP seemed to be combing through its ranks removing all the one-time supporters [1][2][3] of webOS.

Seppuku wide
"I didn't know there was such a thing as corporate suicide, but now we know that there is.  It's just astonishing." -- Ex-HP Board Chairman Tom Perkins on the company's struggles
[Image Source: Euro-Synergies]

After HP became the second major company in two years to fire Léo Apotheker from its CEO spot for poor performace, new CEO Meg Whitman reported shopped around webOS to prospective buyers.  But her asking price of $1.2B USD -- what HP had paid for it before it desecrated the remains of Palm -- was reportedly considered laughable by serious buyer prospects like Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd.'s (KS:005930).

Unsurprisingly no buyer was found.

II. Jon Rubinstein Departs to More Fertile Shores

Today HP has open sourced webOS, essentially giving away for free the product that months before it had hope to get a billion dollars for.

HP was quiet about the departure of Mr. Rubinstein.  They would only say, when reached for comment by The Verge, "Jon has fulfilled his commitment and we wish him well."

Jon Rubinstein
Jon Rubinstein, father of the iPod and Palm Pre [Image Source: CellPassion]

Ultimately this is likely a smart career move for Mr. Rubinstein, who originally gained fame as the creator of the iPod at Apple, Inc. (AAPL).  Mr. Rubinstein has put out solid products at companies who have ambition, companies who have the willingness to take risks in the mobile space -- attributes that are sorely lacking at HP.

Sadly for webOS fans, this is one more sign that the beloved platform is taking its final ride into the glow of the twilight.  As HP reassigns the remainder of the webOS skeleton crew who weren't laid off yet, Mr. Rubinstein's departure serves as perhaps the final reminder that once there was a company named Palm, a company with two decades of bold mobile vision, a company whose final spark of life was extinguished by HP.

(AllThingsDigitals reports that Mr. Rubinstein has been absent from the office for months, in silent protest of Mr. Apotheker's decision to kill webOS, and that HP only now got around to clarifying his status.)

Sources: The Verge, AllThingsD



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RE: sigh...
By Obujuwami on 1/27/2012 5:04:11 PM , Rating: 2
be careful with uverse, I was asking questions like "will I have fiber come directly into my house?" and the sales guys said yes. Instead they wanted to pull it from the 30+ year old 2-wire phone line. I told them to go stick it but in honesty, would it be so bad for them to offer FIOS like service? It would be getting ourselves ahead of the rest of the world and I know FIOS or its competitors are expanding along the east coast and Washington State (maybe even Portland area now).

Verizon has it right by pulling fiber to the house!


RE: sigh...
By Solandri on 1/28/2012 12:49:44 PM , Rating: 2
For very short runs, the old 2-wire Cat 3 phone lines can hit over 200 Mbps with current technology. I've heard 500 Mbps is in development. If the provider does it right, there's nothing wrong with doing the street-to-house hookup over copper. At least not until we start getting Internet speeds measured in Gbps.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Very_high_speed_digit...
VDSL2 is commonly used to network hotels and apartment buildings.

The problem with running fiber to the house is that it puts the transition from fiber back to copper (your network/phone/TV cables) inside your house. That box sits in your home (mine is in the garage) and requires a battery backup in case of power failure. And after the 1 year warranty, it's your responsibility to maintain and replace the battery (lead-acid batteries used as battery backups typically only last 2-3 years). If the box should stop working, I suspect I'd have to pay for it too.

If the fiber ends at the street and hooks up to your home via copper, that box sits underneath the street. It's then serviced by the ISP's battery backup or backup power lines. Maintaining and replacing the batteries and the unit is their responsibility and their cost. Maybe in the future we'll have cable-modems which plug directly into the fiber. But because FIOS carries Internet, TV, and phone service, you still need a box sitting in your garage to convert the fiber back to copper. As long as any one of those still relies on copper wires, you will need the box.


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