In news that appears to have been largely ignored by the mainstream media, HP last night made a dramatic announcement that points to the drastically changing times in the PC sector.
HP last night shocked the tech industry by announcing the discontinuation of its webOS tablet and smartphone platforms, comprising its TouchPad and Pre brands, which only launched in the UK this week.
In a further shock, the company also signalled that it is to distance itself from PC hardware manufacturing altogether by investigating a possible sale of its Personal Systems Group business – astonishing for one of the sector’s most iconic brands.
Instead it seems that HP will going forwards concentrate on software and services. If a buyer cannot be found then PSG will be spun off from the parent company.
The news represents a dramatic loss in faith for webOS, which just months ago was being pushed as the future for a company that hoped to get ahead of the cloud computing wave.
The implications are obvious, of course. The desktop PC market is in free-fall, with the balance of power having shifted to tablet PCs and smartphones.
And therein lies the second problem – Apple. It’s total dominance of the tablet PC market and defining approach to smartphones has not only propelled it to the position of the biggest company in the world. It has also created an extremely hostile market for all of its potential competitors.