HP Spins Off WebOS To New “Gram” Company


Creation of Gram unit apparently completes HP’s long goodbye to WebOS

Hewlett-Packard’s protracted goodbye to Palm and the WebOS mobile operating system seems to have finally been concluded, after it reportedly spun-off HP’s webOS Global Business Unit into a separate company.

According to a leaked memo seen by webOS Nation on Tuesday, HP apparently called a meeting with all webOS employees late last week to reveal the move, which has been on the cards for a long time now.

Stealth Mode

The memo told staff that the new company is currently in stealth mode regarding its product offering.

“We are an incubation company, and we are trusting you to keep this company name and product under the radar to give it time to take root and grow. You can wear the logo, help build the momentum of the new identity, talk to your families and friends about it. If someone from the outside asks, you can say, “GRAM is a new company. We are in stealth mode on our product offering,” the memo reportedly said.

The future of WebOS is still unclear, then. What is known is that Gram is not focusing on making consumer hardware, but instead says it will concentrate on software, user experience, the cloud, engineering, and partnering.

“We are no longer a consumer hardware brand, we are a different company with focus on software, User Experience, Cloud, engineering and partnering. This change in identity will take some getting used to and that’s normal,” the memo said.

Long Goodbye

The move by HP has been widely expected. In December it announced it would make WebOS an open source offering by September 2012 under the Apache 2.0 licensing system.

HP had acquired webOS when it bought Palm in 2010 and then used the mobile OS in the TouchPad tablet and smartphones. However the TouchPad lasted just six weeks before the product line was terminated by former CEO Leo Apotheker, just before he was ousted in August 2011.

And further evidence of HP distancing itself from WebOS came when former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein departed in January. That move, coupled by HP axing almost half the webOS team, was felt by some as the final nail in the operating system’s coffin.

And then May some of HP’s WebOS Enyo team jumped ship to Google.

Enyo was the HTLM5-based application framework for webOS (essentially the webOS developer tool. Those developers were said to be the key personnel within the programme, including team leader Matt McNulty.

HP did not respond to TechweekEurope at the time of writing.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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