Report: HP snags Nokia's former MeeGo chief

Hewlett-Packard hired Ari Jaaksi, Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) former MeeGo division chief, as the senior vice president of webOS at the Palm unit within HP, according to AllThingsD.

If confirmed, the hiring would mark a reversal of job fortunes between Nokia and Palm. Peter Skillman, who was the chief designer of the Palm Pre, left Palm this summer after it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard for $1.2 billion. He is now the head of user experiences and services for MeeGo, Nokia's high-end device platform, which the company developed with Intel. Jaaksi resigned from Nokia earlier this month, citing "personal reasons."

An HP spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the hire. According to AllThingsD, the Palm unit also landed Victoria Coleman, who recently led Samsung's R&D Center in San Jose. She will head up platform and application development for next-generation versions of webOS. Palm is currently working on webOS 2.0, and expects to release new devices within the next few months.

HP also is moving more talent internally to the Palm unit, which is still headed by former Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein. Among the internal hires are Steven McArthur, who was the senior vice president of the company's consumer applications business; he will now lead product marketing for Palm. Rubinstein and McArthur hinted last month that HP will deliver a cloud-based streaming music service to smartphones. Google said in May it plans to add a streaming music service to Android, though it did not specify when it will do so.

Nokia, meanwhile, is moving ahead with its MeeGo plans. The company hinted that MeeGo could be available on the N900, Nokia's mobile computer running on Maemo (which was combined with Intel's Moblin to make MeeGo), as early as mid-November when MeeGo has its first developer conference. However, an Intel executive recently said that smartphones running MeeGo will not be available until the early next year.

For more:
- see this AllThingsD post
- see this WSJ blog post (sub. req.)
- see this Wired article
- see this Engadget post
- see this Engadget post

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