While Apple, Google and Microsoft Corp. are hiring developers of mobile applications, Hewlett-Packard, which last month decided to discontinue its webOS-based devices along with further development of the operating system itself, confirmed this week plans to lay off approximately half of a thousand of webOS developers.
“As communicated on August 18, HP will discontinue the development of webOs devices within the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2011, which ends October 31, 2011. As part of this decision, the webOS GBU is undergoing a reduction in workforce. Today’s actions are part of this initiative. During this time, we stand by our commitment to our webOS customers and will work to ensure that support and service for customers are not adversely affected. HP is exploring ways to leverage webOS software,” said a spokesperson for HP.
Sources close to HP told AllThingsD that the company plans to lay off as many as 525 employees, and that it already began firing developers of webOS software this week.
The start of massive layoffs at the Palm division of Hewlett-Packard is essentially the beginning of the countdown for the webOS operating system itself. While up-to-date and relatively competitive now, without further development webOS will quickly find itself behind competing operating systems, primarily Apple iOS and Google Android.
HP is currently looking forward to license webOS, or even sell it, to a third party. It will be much harder for the company to find a new owner for the OS that is outdated compared to leading rivals.