Hewlett-Packard will move some of its top executives around in an attempt to drive the growth of the webOS platform it acquired from Palm. Specifically, the company is moving former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein away from direct control of webOS to work on broader product innovation.
As part of the shift, Stephen DeWitt, who led HP's Personal Systems Group Americas region and has been with HP since 2008, will lead the webOS global business unit as senior vice president and general manager. Rubinstein, who was the driving force behind webOS at Palm, will take charge of product innovation in the Personal Systems Group, which encompasses smartphones, tablets and PCs. Both will report to Todd Bradley, who remains the executive vice president of HP Personal Systems Group.
In a blog post, HP said the changes are part of a "logical evolution" for webOS. HP said DeWitt will be responsible for all aspects of the webOS business, including engineering, research and development, sales, marketing and go-to-market support. The company said DeWitt will focus on creating a global developer and independent software vendor program to deliver new consumer and business applications as well as a dedicated mobility practice with HP's partners to focus on both consumer and enterprise solutions.
Meanwhile, Rubinstein, while not being formally in charge of webOS anymore, will still be connected to the platform, since HP wants to put webOS on PCs in addition to mobile devices. "We're fortunate to have Jon doing that voodoo that he does," DeWitt told Bloomberg. "He's going to bring his knowledge, experience and passion for building products across the PSG portfolio."
The shift comes shortly after the bumpy launch of HP's first webOS tablet, the TouchPad, which was met with mixed reviews. HP has said it plans to issue software updates to correct some of the flaws the launch exposed, including occasionally sluggish response times. The shakeup also comes after HP CEO Leo Apotheker acknowledged that the computing and printing giant is in talks with a number of companies to license webOS.
- see this release
- see this HP blog post
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this PC Magazine article
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