In today’s earning call from HP, the world has learned that HP has spent $3.3 Billion to write off things related to Palm and WebOS. This comes less than two years after HP spent $1.2 Billion to acquire Palm in the first place. Overall, this probably put the losses related to Palm a bit over $5B.Obviously, it was a risky move from the beginning as Palm was clearly not a market leader and HP’s new CEO Meg Whitman said that from now on, HP will make “prudent investments”, but stopped short of providing any details to illustrate this remark.
Many outside observers (including myself) feel that HP could have handled the Palm project better. It feels like HP could have invested more in the device industrial designs and shrink its margins in order to gain market share. Even the Palm communications campaign was a huge blunder.
WebOS also had a lot of potential for smart peripherals, but ultimately, it probably require a hardware platform that is too expensive for printers and scanners – at least, today. It would have been awesome as an instant-on option for laptops, though.
Now, the future of WebOS remains a question mark. What do you think of HP’s “Palm adventures”?