HP TouchPad
Are people buying the HP Touchpad en masse to make a profit of it? Seems that way. HP

Rest in peace, HP TouchPad. You had a short, miserable life. Some consumers liked you, but it wasn't enough -- so HP is giving up, granting you a swift death.

The company announced Thursday it will discontinue its WebOS operations including the TouchPad and webOS phones -- and that means you, TouchPad.

You came into the world with such promise, as the company held you before the tech world as the second coming: the answer to Apple's tablet.

But you had just one great big problem: You weren't an Apple iPad.

And that's what most consumers wanted.

HP had big plans in launching you this summer, TouchPad. The company acquired your signature webOS operating system from Palm in its buyout of that company, and convinced retailers like Best Buy, Staples and Wal-Mart to take big shipments to move at launch.

Many in the media hailed your launch as the beginning of a tablet war: HP TouchPad vs. the iPad 2.

Best Buy got so excited that the Minneapolis-based company took about 275,000 TouchPads, filling store shelves throughout the country. Wal-Mart took a big shipment. So did Staples, and other leading retailers.

Problem is, almost nobody has wanted you, TouchPad -- not even at a $100 discount the company applied soon after launch this summer.

Best Buy couldn't sell you. Neither could Staples, or Wal-Mart or any other big retailers. If anything, the discount cheapened your brand out of the gate -- further fueling failure. It was like the company said, Here's this great thing! Then, it came back and said, Oops, it's not as great as we thought it was.

Apple's one-year-old iPad keeps grabbing more global tablet market share with each passing day, while you, TouchPad, emerged as an embarrassing business story for HP and retailers like Best Buy. There was the report that Best Buy has 200,000 TouchPads on hand, and wanted to return them to the company.

Now, they'll probably be sold at giveaway prices. Since HP is getting out of the business, killing the TouchPad, they certainly won't want you back.

So the so-called conflict between HP's TouchPad and Apple's iPad is over before it even got started. It was never really a fight, much less a battle. Certainly not a war.

Whatever it was, it's over. Quickly.

Goodbye TouchPad. We barely knew you.

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