HP’s WebOS Enyo Team Jumps Ship To Google

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Members of HP’s webOS Enyo team are reportedly quitting to join search engine giant Google

More signs are emerging of dissatisfaction among Hewlett-Packard’s staff after it emerged that some of its webOS Enyo team has jumped ship to Google.

The webOS team is responsible for the Enyo HTML5 application framework, and the move to Google could see them working on Android, or joining Google’s ChromeOS team, according to The Verge.

Enyo Team

Enyo is the HTLM5-based application framework for webOS (essentially the webOS developer tool), and it is thought that six Enyo people have been individually hired by Google. These developers are said to be the key personnel within the programme, including team leader Matt McNulty.

If the report is true, it will come as a blow to HP, which last December ended months of speculation about the future of webOS and pledged to make it open source by September under the Apache 2.0 licensing system, with software tools and a beta release to debut before then.

HP 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.

Despite HP’s public commitment to webOS, signs have emerged of the internal stresses within the unit responsible for it. The depature of former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein in January this was felt by some as the final nail in the operating system’s coffin. In February, The Wall Street Journal reported that HP was to axe almost half the webOS team, with 275 of the 600 strong workforce losing their jobs.

This has since led to the news that HP has finally confirmed market reports of a major companywide headcount reduction. Earlier this week HP said it would axe 27,000 jobs worldwide by 2014, in the face of weak demand. Among these departures is Mike Lynch, chief executive of HP’s Autonomy unit. Lynch’s departure has been criticised by some within the analyst community.

“Mike Lynch’s departure from HP seems counter-intuitive in light of the company’s intention to reinvest in R&D following its planned layoffs,” said Tim Jennings, chief IT analyst at Ovum. “Lynch is a technology visionary, and parting company on the basis of poor sales execution in the division, indicates that HP has struggled to create a clear vision for how to leverage its very expensive acquisition.

“Since the acquisition, HP has allowed Autonomy to run autonomously (admittedly somewhat at Lynch’s behest), including maintaining separate R&D functions, but this has made it difficult to benefit from the company’s core technology within the broader HP portfolio, just at a time when it is one of the hottest areas for enterprise investment,” Jennings added. “”HP would have been better advised to utilise Lynch’s talent across all of its software business, rather than to allow him to remain at arm’s length, and subsequently land him with the blame for poor sales execution.”

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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