Following the surprising decision made by HP to open source webOS, Joshua Topolsky from The Verge had a brief interview with Meg Whitman, HP’s CEO, and Marc Andreesen, an HP board member, about the announcement. You can read the entire transcript here, but there are a couple very interesting points to focus on:
1. HP plans to make webOS hardware again, but a concrete timeframe hasn’t been determined yet. Tablets running webOS is a distinct possibility, but Meg Whitman said it’s quite unlikely that HP will ever get back into the smartphone market.
2. This new direction that HP is taking with webOS has a long roadmap, 4 or 5 years, as Meg Whitman said in the interview. She claimed that this will not be some venture where, “…if it’s not perfect in a year, we’re out of here.” Whitman also said that ultimately, the measures of success will be,
“…how many developers are writing for this platform? Have there been other hardware manufacturers who have signed on and built devices, whether they be tablets or devices of the future or smartphones? And ultimately, the ability of developers to make money.”
She couldn’t say whether or not more layoffs would occur, but there will be some reorganization as HP gears up to create a webOS-specific team to back HP’s new open source project. Whitman wants to keep as much of the core engineering team together as possible.
The revelations in this interview with The Verge do a little bit to help assuage the webOS community’s fears that this could be another flash-in-the-pan decision from HP. After the fiasco surrounding the premature discontinuation of the, many webOS enthusiasts felt truly burned. It’s understandable that skepticism regarding any decisions HP would be making with respect to webOS would manifest.
But if Whitman stays true to her word, we can see that HP isn’t planning to pull the rug out from under webOS again (at least not any time soon). If they did, that would be the death knell for the platform, at least as far as HP would be concerned. Let’s hope that day never comes.
Via The Verge