News Column

HP Firing 525 Workers

Sept. 21, 2011

Hewlett-Packard is firing 525 workers from the WebOS division that it plans to close down as part of a company-wide restructuring, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday on its AllThingsD blog.

HP confirmed that layoffs were under way, but declined to give details.

"As communicated on August 18, HP will discontinue the development of webOS devices within the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, which ends October 31, 2011," an HP spokesperson told AllThingsD.

"As part of this decision, the webOS Global Business Unit is undergoing a reduction in workforce. Today's actions are part of this initiative. During this time, we stand by our commitment to our webOS customers and will work to ensure that support and service for customers are not adversely affected. HP is exploring ways to leverage webOS software."

HP chief executive Leo Apotheker announced the shuttering of the division as part of a restructuring that will also see the company try to shed its PC business, which is the world's largest maker of personal computers.

HP also is trying to buy business software company Autonomy as it seeks to bolster the software and services it can offer to commercial customers.

HP bought WebOS from Palm in a $1.2 billion deal last year, hoping that it could give the well-reviewed operating system the market heft to compete with Apple and Google's Android in the booming sector for smartphones and tablet computers.

Ironically HP's decision to discontinue WebOS led to a run on its most prominent product, the TouchPad tablet computer, when retailers dropped its price from $399 to $99.

Source: Copyright 2011 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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