In a statement sure to send long suffering Palm aficionados into fresh depths of despair, Mark Hurd, the CEO of new owners’ HP is quoted as saying, “We didn’t buy Palm to be in the smartphone business.”
Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Technology conference yesterday, Hurd insisted that his company wasn’t about to, “spend billions of dollars trying to get into the smartphone business,” adding that such a move, “doesn’t in any way make any sense.”
Here’s the full quote:
We didn’t buy Palm to be in the smartphone business. And I tell people that, but it doesn’t seem to resonate well. We bought it for the IP. The WebOS is one of the two ground-up pieces of software that is built as a web operating environment…We have tens of millions of HP small form factor web-connected devices…Now imagine that being a web-connected environment where now you can get a common look and feel and a common set of services laid against that environment. That is a very value proposition.
Goodbye Palm phones?
Despite owing what we still believe to be the best mobile operating system available, it seems that HP is more interested in using the OS to power other forms of technology, like printers ad tablets.
Of course, without a clear, unambiguous statement coming from HP about the future of the webOS as a mobile phone platform, perhaps things aren’t quite as bleak as they sound, but we can’t imagine too many mobile app developers drawing confidence from his words.
Sad to see them go
As for us, we’d be truly saddened to see Palm’s innovative webOS failing to reach its considerable potential as a worthy rival to platforms like Android and the iPhone.
We always dreamed of new Palm devices mixing up the design flair and top notch specs of handsets like the HTC Desire with their revolutionary operating system, but perhaps Palm phones are about to go the same way as the Palm Foleo: another contender cruelly strangled at birth.
UPDATE: 4th June 2010
HP’s CEO has swiftly retracted part of his statement on the acquisition of Palm not being about the smartphone space, adding:
When we look at the market, we see an array of interconnected devices, including tablets, printers, and of course, smartphones. We believe webOS can become the backbone for many of HP’s small form factor devices, and we expect to expand webOS’s footprint beyond just the smartphone market, all while leveraging our financial strength, scale, and global reach to grow in smartphones.