Mobile

HP drops 275 webOS employees it “no longer needs”

HP_TouchPad_sadIt’s not a great day for HP employees. The company just announced it has laid off 275 employees from its webOS division, The Verge reported.

The news follows webOS head John Rubinstein’s recent departure.

HP released a statement today, saying that it is letting go of most of its webOS team because the employees are no longer needed for webOS projects:

As webOS continues the transition from making mobile devices to open source software, it no longer needs many of the engineering and other related positions that it required before. This creates a smaller and more nimble team that is well-equipped to deliver an open source webOS and sustain HP’s commitment to the software over the long term.

HP is working to redeploy employees affected by these changes to other roles at the company.

It’s unclear how many engineers came from Palm and how many HP hired to work on webOS, but either way its an unfortunate number of people who lost their jobs. As unfortunate as it is, the move doesn’t really come as a surprise. HP ended up killing off webOS hardware because it wasn’t selling enough devices. And last September, All Things D reported that HP cut 500 employees from its webOS division.

In December, HP chief executive Meg Whitman made an announcement that webOS was going to become open sourced and that the OS would live on HP tablets again, but laying off 275 employees doesn’t inspire confidence in that plan.

HP thought it was on to something with the Touchpad and thought bigger, better devices were to come. Hopes were high last year before the Touchpad launch that the new HP tablet would blow Apple’s forthcoming iPad 2 out of the water. But the iPad already had a loyal following and proved too tough a tablet to beat.

HP had no other comment about the layoffs.


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