Remember when HP bought Palm for over $1.2 billion, decided to push a new line of phones and tablets based on Palm’s webOS software… and then gave up less than two months after launching the first tablet?
The $99 HP TouchPad fire sale certainly made bargain hunters happy. But it was bad news for webOS enthusiasts… and for HP investors who bought into the company’s promises to actually do something innovative in the consumer electronics space with webOS.
So they filed a class action suit. Now HP has agreed to pay out $57 million in a settlement… which is kind of peanuts when you consider some of the other piles of cash involved.
The gist of the complaint is that investors put their money into what they thought was a consumer electronics company… and one which was telling investors and the public one thing about its plans for webOS while making very different decisions internally.
Then former HP CEO Leo Apotheker shook things up pretty dramatically in 2011 by canceling all webOS hardware, announcing an $11 billion purchase of enterprise software company Autonomy, and refocusing HP on business services.
HP has a different CEO and a slightly different strategy these days. The company continues to offer consumer products, but most of its webOS assets have been sold off to LG, which plans to make smart television sets with the software. HP, on the other hand, is now offering a line of low-cost Android tablets as well as Windows tablets and notebooks along with more enterprise-friendly hardware and software.
The settlement probably won’t affect you very much unless you’re involved with one of the pension funds or investment groups that reached the agreement with HP. But it’s further evidence that the sad story of HP and webOS didn’t end in 2011.
via The Verge