HP’s Big Mobile Experiment Is In The Hands Of These Guys

jon rubinstein sad
Jon Rubinstein

Now that the inventor of the iPod and former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein has officially left HP, who will fill his shoes? While the ultimate fate of webOS remains to be seen, HP has been prepping for this day for a while.Rubinstein told AllThingsD that he had let HP know months in advance that he was planning on leaving. He had wanted to skedaddle as soon as HP shipped the TouchPad, but he stayed on in an advisory role at the bequest of HP’s Todd Bradley, executive vice president of the Personal Systems Group, he said.

HP shipped the TouchPad on July 1, 2011. A mere 49 days later, HP announced it would discontinue it, and all current hardware devices running webOS. (The next month, HP got a new CEO, Meg Whitman.)

So, who is left running the show?

Bill Veghte is the guy HP hopes will take over Rubinstein’s role. Veghte might have the chops for it. He was instrumental in the launch of Windows 7. But he’s needs to come up with a cloud strategy for HP — a giant task and one that it desperately needs to get moving on.

When Veghte was handed the reigns, Stephen DeWitt, dropped them. He was named senior vice president and general manager of the webOS global business unit in July when the TouchPad shipped but that job lasted about as long as the TouchPad did. DeWitt hasn’t left HP — he’s working in the PC group.

So Sam Greenblatt stepped up. He’s a CTO for HP and the newly anointed head of technical strategy for WebOS. Prior to WebOS, Sam’s was revising HP’s Web sites. He also worked on HP’s printers.

Ari Jaaksi, a senior vice president at HP, came on board in November from Nokia. It was a hopeful sign that HP was hiring. But Jaalsi was vice president of one of Nokia’s big failed projects: MeeGo. Although a Nokia MeeGo phone shipped this year, to good reviews, Nokia pulled the plug on MeeGo when it partnered with Microsoft for Windows Phone 7.

Matthew McNulty is tasked with getting some applications rolling for WebOS. He’s senior director of the webOS development tools and came over with Palm. It’s his job to get developers to want to write applications with a tool from Palm called Enyo. If they use it, they could wind up building apps that could also run on WebOS, almost as a byproduct.