HP Tries To Better Explain Its New Direction

Over the course of the past few weeks, since the company’s announcement that it would no longer produce tablets and smartphones based on webOS and that it planned to spin-off its PC business, HP has been the target of a lot of negative sentiment. HP claims, however, that much of the information it tried to convey has been misunderstood.

In attempt to set the record straight, the company just posted up an article on its Small and Medium Business website titled, “HP's bold new direction. The facts.” In the article, HP tries to better explain its plans for webOS, its PC business (also known as its Personal Systems Group), warranty support, and a couple of other topics.

In the article, HP says this of its future plans for its PC business, “PSG is a leading manufacturer of personal computers in the world and had annual revenues of approximately $41 billion in fiscal year 2010. Its products are used by millions of consumers and business users worldwide.” It’s these facts that led many to scratch their heads and wonder what the heck HP was thinking when it announced plans to spin-off such a huge, profitable business. But the article continues, “HP sees an opportunity to further improve the flexibility, innovation and responsiveness of the products and services you rely on from PSG, which is why our board authorized an investigation into strategic alternatives for this business. Our preferred course is to spin off our PC business into a separate company, creating a more agile organization to help us better anticipate change and quickly respond to customers.”

HP also explains why it discontinued operations for the TouchPad and webOS phones and outlines some of its plans for webOS. “webOS is not going away; quite the opposite. Since its launch, webOS has been praised for its differentiated user experience. We know that many developers feel the operating system is elegantly designed and is a respected platform. However, the webOS devices have not gained enough traction in the marketplace with consumers and we see too long a ramp-up in market share. By discontinuing operations for the devices, we will be able to focus more resources on developing and enhancing the webOS platform.”

Without new devices running webOS, we have to wonder what the incentive is for HP to continue developing and enhancing the OS other than to sell it off. It’s not likely webOS will need many features added to be embedded into a printer or other standalone device that won’t offer near the functionality of a tablet or phone, for example. And TouchPad and Pre owners can't realistically expect many software updates over the long haul.

Regardless of the ultimate outcomes for webOS and its PC business, HP had to at least try to set the record straight and clarify its plans. At the very least, a few of the topic covered in the piece should set the minds of some owners of HP devices at ease knowing that the company still plans to honor warranties and support their products.

What say you?
Tags:  HP, webOS, touchpad, spinoff