Pre to Postmortem

webOS

Proving that the journalistic integrity of the Internet is still utterly alive and well in some corners, Chris Ziegler has a phenomenal report concerning the demise of Palm and webOS:

It’s easy to look back at Palm’s story arc from 1992 to 2012 and feel a sense of loss and sadness — this was a company that pioneered PDAs, popularized smartphones, and developed a revolutionary new platform on limited resources with an extraordinary concentration of industry talent before meeting its demise at the hands of HP. Staffers we spoke to took a more positive view, though, and one summed it up particularly well: “You ever see 24 Hour Party People? You know the scene at the end where they’re playing Happy Mondays’ Hallelujah and Tony Wilson is standing over The Hacienda and he’s like, ‘well, it’s all over — we have to shut down. Take the turntables, take the barstools, let a thousand Haciendas bloom’? Well, that’s what this is like. It’s that there are still people there, but a lot of people left, and they’re bringing the spirit with them. A thousand webOSes will bloom, I hope.”

Fascinating, entertaining, and important work.

Core webOS Enyo Team Leaving HP for Google

WebOS

Chris Ziegler reports for The Verge:

The HP team responsible for Enyo — webOS’s HTML5-based application framework that debuted on the TouchPad — will be leaving the company and starting at Google shortly, The Verge has learned. What this means for the future of Open webOS is unclear; Enyo and the developers supporting it are central to HP’s open source strategy for the operating system going forward, and it’s hard to say whether this move will have any effect on the planned late 2012 release for version 1.0.

Any lingering wisps of hope for the beleaguered mobile operating system must surely now have passed. Although the loss is certainly a shame, I simply hope HP will begin to acknowledge the futility of the sustenance of webOS, and move on.

Hewlett-Packard Cutting 27,000 Jobs

HP

Arik Hesseldahl:

HP has now posted a news release with some details on the restructuring plan:

The plan is apparently to get things underway in the third quarter of this year, which is the current quarter, and to take charges of $3.5 billion by the end of 2014, most of it in workforce reductions. That is in line with CEO Meg Whitman’s claim that the turnaround is going to take a few years. The 27,000 jobs eliminated amount to about 8 percent of the workforce. Of that HP will take a $1.7 billion pre-tax charge this year.

Perhaps the company’s failings have been written on the wall for quite some time, but it’s still an awful shame for such a large quantity of people to lose their jobs.

Dell Is "No Longer a PC Company"

Following last week's dismal earnings results, Brad Anderson, president of Dell's enterprise group, stated that Dell no longer exists as a personal computing company. Nicole Kobie reports for PC Pro:

Speaking at the launch of new enterprise hardware at an event in Twickenham, West London today, the president of Dell's enterprise solution group Brad Anderson said: "We're no longer a PC company, we're an IT company."

"Dell's changing very quickly," he added. "We are dramatically changing the make-up of our business."

"It's no longer about shiny boxes, it's about IT solutions [that let companies drive efficiencies]," he added.

Although the words come from Dell's enterprise president, the sentiment is relatively unsurprising. Dell has lost its touch in the hardware world in recent years, but maintains a firm grip on the enterprise market. Capitalizing on this remaining stronghold, Dell is looking to pivot into sustained relevance from an environment characterized by antiquated ideas and waning marketshare.

Dell is evidently planning to maintain a portion of its consumer hardware business but, with this acknowledgement, Anderson has publicly stated that the consumer market will not be its focus. 

Considering there is a generation of people still operating under the perception of Dell as a great source for affordable computers, this shift away from the consumer industry may pose some interesting questions for the average consumer.

(Via The Verge)

The Vanguard of Antiquated Ideas

HP and Dell inhabit a reality unfamiliar to our own.

Garish LEDs, imperceptible hardware iterations, lazy knock-offs, and woefully uninspiring product design characterize a marketplace that, for whatever reason, is at a rapidly increasing disconnect from the average consumer.

Although processors have quickened and storage increased, Dell and HP have changed little since the days of beige boxes and heavy monitors. Their tactics remain gimmicky, their perception of the average consumer patronizing and inaccurate. Bereft of a connective ecosystem, products seem to slip into the marketplace like sewage into a filthy lake - the products lifelessly merging into one muddied, unattractive and unwelcome mess.

I'd like to think that following their dismal earnings, HP (44 percent decline) and Dell (18 percent decline) might take up a reflective spot at the edge of the lake and cast an introverted gaze upon their business practices, but I imagine they won't. Windows 8 - the product of revisiting outdated design paradigms and consumer disconnects - might be a good opportunity for change but, realistically, I doubt much will change.

In an imperceptible market connected by a loose string of bloated software and little forethought, Dell and HP stand as the stalwart vanguard of antiquated ideas - the two that simply refuse to acknowledge the palpable winds of change. Sooner or later, reality will catch up to them.