Timing is everything in life, and the timing here is particularly strange. Just a few days after HP's TouchPad
launched to ho hum reviews, the company has decided to make a few major strategic changes in the ranks. Jon Rubinstein, the visionary behind webOS, came over from Palm to lead up the group. After championing the Veer, Pre 3 and TouchPad, it looks like he'll be sitting in a different office by the time the last of those actually ships.
HP has appointed Stephen DeWitt as senior vice president and general manager of its webOS global business unit, a post that Jon held prior. Jon will assume a product innovation role within the Personal Systems Group (PSG) at HP. It's hard to say what this really means. Of course, HP's spinning it as positively as possible, but why the change? And why now? It could be that Jon requested it; maybe he needed a position that allowed him to focus and innovate as he saw fit. Or perhaps HP just felt another leader was needed. The trouble is that we'll probably never really know the reasons behind it, so we're left to speculate with far too little data.
Here's HP's description: "DeWitt, who has been leading the PSG Americas region at HP, will be responsible for all aspects of the webOS business, including engineering, research and development, sales, marketing and go-to-market support. In his new role, DeWitt will spearhead the creation of a fully integrated, global developer and independent software vendor program to deliver new consumer and business applications. DeWitt's team also will create a dedicated mobility practice with HP's partner community, with the goal of delivering consumer and enterprise solutions globally."
With the TouchPad set to hit consumers on the 17th, it looks like Stephen will probably be answering a lot of questions in the coming days. Hopefully, the new power duo will enable webOS to shine like it really should, but first, we just need better hardware.