HP is one of the largest tech companies in the world and this week may go down in history as the week a large, stable company began to crumble for self-imposed reasons. On Thursday, HP gave their third quarter 2011 results which showed a minor loss in revenue when adjusted for currency effects. However, also in that financial statement came three other bits of news:
- HP announced it will begin exploring strategic alternatives to spin off (or other transaction) their Personal Systems Group.
- HP is discontinuing webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones.
- HP recommended to its board purchasing Autonomy Corporation, a software service provider for enterprise applications.
HP’s Personal Systems Group is the part of the company responsible for HP’s PC business, the leading manufacturer of PCs. In a separate press release, HP summarized the reason for the move as:
The personal computing market is quickly evolving with new form factors and application ecosystems. Given these realities, HP believes it is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders to explore ways for PSG to position itself to address these rapid changes and maintain its technological and market leadership positions.
HP formally announced its plan to acquire Autonomy later that day for what amounts to $10 billion USD.
Founded in 1996, Autonomy is a global leader in infrastructure software for the enterprise with a customer base of more than 25,000 global companies, law firms and public sector agencies, and approximately 2,700 employees worldwide.
Now for the big news about webOS. I’m a previous Palm Pre owner. I traded it in for an Android phone about a year ago but there were parts of the software I really liked.
HP will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. The devices have not met internal milestones and financial targets. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.
On Tuesday, according to AllThingsD, sources close to HP and Best Buy said that Best Buy had sold less than 25,000 TouchPads and was sitting on another 200,000 that it wanted HP to take back.
In response to this problem going public, the quarterly statement, and slow sales of the TouchPad, HP has responded by marking down the price of the device that already had a $100 discount. You can now get the 16GB HP TouchPad for $99.99 and the 32GB TouchPad for $149.99.
When did all this downfall happen? In the 16 months that HP has owned Palm? Since July 1st when the TouchPad launched? Or back a year ago when HP forced then-CEO Mark Hurd to resign amidst sexual harassment allegations?
HP is obviously selling off its TouchPads at a loss with today’s sale prices. It’s definitely the cheapest tablet you can get. Is it worth buying a discontinued electronic even for bargain basement prices? Are the reasons that consumers didn’t buy it in the first place still valid? With the way HP is treating WebOS, I don’t think you’ll see an uptick in the developer community any time soon. When compared to a now-pricier iPad 2 or Android tablet, does the TouchPad lure anybody in at $100?
Update: Best Buy has stopped selling the tablet online and has updated a return and price match policy.
What should I do if I purchased the HP TouchPad outside of the 14-day return policy and would like to return it?
Best Buy is extending its return/exchange policy on the HP TouchPad and all HP TouchPad accessories to 60 days. Come into a Best Buy store and we will help you find another tablet to fit your needs or issue you a refund.
Does the Best Buy Price Match policy still apply if I see the HP TouchPad discounted at another retailer?
No. As of August 19, 2011, the HP TouchPad is on clearance and we will no longer be selling the units so we will not offer any price matches. As mentioned above, we will still be offering an extended return/exchange policy.
WebOSRoundup also says HP is fully refunding TouchPad prices OR the difference on fire-sale prices and has told retail partners to extend the same refund policy.
Folks who bought HP TouchPads from HP’s website just need to call HP’s Home & Office phone service (be ready to be on hold for about a half hour) and tell them you want a full refund or to be credited the difference. HP will honor either request, and in the case of the fire-sale difference, they will give you an additional $10 credit off of your sales tax.