Major WebOS Engineer Heads To Google's Android Team

And just like that, the shakeup at Palm continues. A few days before HP eventually came public with their intentions to acquire the struggling cell phone maker, Michael Abbott, SVP of software and services, decided to bolt for the door. Now, another huge pillar at Palm has decided that the new HP-Palm is no place for him.

Matias Duarte is heading for the exits at Palm (or what's left of Palm), but even though it's probably a name you're unfamiliar with, the ramifications could be significant. Mr. Duarte was considered a mastermind behind the WebOS design, which is Palm's new claim to fame and one of the first mobile operating systems on the planet to actively multi-task without a hack. WebOS was a huge move for Palm, and it's a good assumption that WebOS was one of the most valuable pieces of Palm that HP took interest in. We have already heard that a WebOS tablet may be coming, and the new company has already made public their plans to "double down" on WebOS and introduce it into printers, along with other devices in the future.

So it's probably important that HP retain as many WebOS design engineers as possible. Needless to say, losing a big one like Mr. Duarte is a pretty big blow, and it won't be easy to replace the company’s senior director of human interface and user experience. Only a handful of people know WebOS inside and out like he does, so it's likely that HP will try to hire up from within in order to maintain as much cohesion as possible with the remaining WebOS design team.

As for Mr. Duarte's future? It's looking bright. The man has jumped ship to Google, where he will be hired as the User Experience Director for Android. Picking up a WebOS mastermind and cutting him loose on Android? Man, not only is this a big loss for HP-Palm, but it's a huge, huge pickup for Google. You rarely see rivals jumping ship like this, and the last place that HP would want a great software designer is at a company that's in direct competition with their mobile OS. Is Google really ready to pick another fight with another mobile operating system? Maybe so, it seems.