With Microsoft’s planned launch of the Surface tablet, the full cost of Hewlett-Packard’s grotestque mishandling of the purchase and abandonment of Palm’s webOS has become clear. HP’s Personal Systems Group now finds itself in the worst of all possible worlds, facing competition from its most important supplier in what should be its hottest market.
HP’s purchase of Palm in early 2010 was a strategic move by PSG chief Todd Bradley and then CEO Mark Hurd both to move HP into the increasingly important smartphone market and to win a measure of independence from Microsoft. The key was webOS, a rough-edged but highly promising operating system.
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