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By 19 August 2011 | Categories: news

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This week has brought with it at least two pieces of news that has sent shockwaves through the technology industry. The first of these was Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility earlier this week; the second, no less surprising, is HP’s announcement yesterday that it will end its line of webOS based phones and TouchPad. The company alluded that webOS is not completely dead and buried, stating, somewhat cryptically,  that it would “continue to explore options to optimise the value of webOS software going forward.”

While South African users did not get the chance to get their hands on the company’s tablet, Mashable.com reports that the decision comes after Best Buy, a major retail store in the United States, reported earlier this week that it had sold a scant 10% of its TouchPad on stock, with more than 225 000 units still left in warehouses. This followed price cuts of $100 on the TouchPad, which was launched six months ago, but unfortunately this appeared not to have been enough to convince users to buy into the webOS platform.   

According to CNET, a recent survey that was done by Robert W. Baird found that 94% of 1100 surveyed tablet buyers considered the iPad to be their device of choice. Somewhat ironically, and perhaps even tragically, the TouchPad came in second place in that survey with 10%. It begs the question: did HP act too quickly?   

In the same news release announcing the shuttering of the webOS devices, HP also confirmed that it is in discussions with meaning-based computing leader Autonomy Corporation, regarding possibly making an offer to buy that company. This would give HP a considerable stake  in data analytics. The UK based Autonomy reportedly has a market value of GBP 3.5 billion.
 
According to the Wall Street Journal this acquisition could further signify HP’s refocus on software and a services platform. It’s further reported that HP's board of directors had authorised the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG), which focuses on business and consumer PCs and mobile computing devices. Options under consideration may include a full or partial separation of PSG from HP through a spin-off or other transaction.

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