Note: This article was updated to reflect HP's public statements about its PC business.
In a set of shocking developments that could send the entire PC industry reeling, Hewlett-Packard today revealed that it will kill off its Palm webOS mobile system and devices and explore its options for selling off the business. But it gets worse: HP isn't stopping with webOS. The company plans to follow IBM and sell or perhaps spin off its PC business as well.
Why is this so shocking? Because HP isn't just another PC maker. They're the number one PC maker in the world. By far.
"HP plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones," a statement from the computing giant reads. "HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward."
That webOS statement came in a press release in which it confirmed that it plans to purchase Autonomy, further cementing its future as an IBM-style, enterprise services business. HP also revealed that its previous fiscal quarter was hugely successful with revenues of over $32.1 billion, about double the revenues of its closest competitor, Dell.
But what about HP's PC business? According to IDC, HP currently dominates the PC market and held over 18 percent worldwide market share, compared to number two Dell, with 11 percent. HP's hold over the US market is even stronger, where it controls 26 percent of the market.
In a separate release, HP discussed its plans to exit the PC business and will explore "strategic alternatives," by which it means a sale or spin-off of the business. HP expects to conclude this change in 12 to 18 months.
"HP is implementing a plan to fundamentally transform the company," the release reads, noting that the company will focus on higher value solutions to enterprise, small and midsize business and public sector customers going forward, and not the commodity PC business. "A post-transaction HP would continue to help its customers manage the information explosion and address their most critical needs through a portfolio that spans printing, software, services, servers, storage and networking."
That future will not include PCs, however. Amazing.