How Will HP Hold webOS Talent

on August 18, 2011

HP logoJoshua Topolsky at This IsMyNext has details on an all-hands meeting at which Stephen DeWitt, head of HP’s webOS business unit, declared that “we are not walking away from webOS” and promised an outline for the future within a couple of weeks.

In an earlier post, I outlined some of the difficulties that any webOS licensing strategy would face. By DeWitt inadvertently points out one I overlooked: How  on earth is HP going to hang on to any good talent in a market where Apple, Google, Microsoft, and a flock of handset makers are all competing fiercely? The webOS unit is a defunct operation within a division–HP’s Personal Systems Group–whose own future is highly uncertain. A first-rate engineer can sit around waiting to see how things turn out–or can have half a dozen job offers nearly immediately.

Richard Kerris, director of webOS developer relations, tried to put the best face on things in a tweet, but the effect and more sad than encouraging: