Hewlett-Packard has made the announcement that it is not going to produce any hardware using the webOS. This will mean it is stopping its Touchpad tablets.
Our WebOS devices have not gained enough traction in the marketplace with consumers, said HP CEO Leo Apotheker in a conference call.
Nonetheless, there are reports fluttering around that HP has plans for potentially licensing webOS.
We're looking at all business models, from licensing to any other possibility for webOS, Apotheker added.
It was in June this year that HP launched its TouchPad tablet. This tablet has been running on the webOS mobile operating system.
This webOS is in reality not an invention of HP. It was in fact acquired by HP from Palm last year for more than $1 billion. But it has turned out to be a disaster for HP. It is way behind in the market of mobile platforms, which has so far been dominated by Apple and Google, with iOS and Android platforms gaining large market shares.
It is in this scenario that there are rumors of HP's plan to license webOS. Having acquired Motorola, Google may be disconnecting from hardware partners such as Samsung, LG and HTC. These firms could also be questioning their continuing relationship with Google, since there is every possibility of Motorola receiving all the internal details about Android.
If such a split occurs, there is an opportunity for HP. By licensing the webOS mobile operating system, it can form business associations with these hardware partners, which in turn can breathe new life into a dying business model.
Another possibility is that HP may put its webOS patents up for sale.
We will have to wait and see on what approach HP will be taking. But one thing is certain. This is not the end of webOS.