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Zipping Files on Today's HP 3000s

Prescient humor hopped up around HP in '10

HP's TouchPad strategy has been the butt of plenty of jokes since the company announced it would stop manufacturing the product. The HP 3000 community got an early start on the humor, more than a year ago. In the very week when HP announced it would purchase Palm and the TouchPad's WebOS, HP 3000 developers and veterans cracked wise about how long it might take to give WebOS the same kind of demise that HP lashed onto MPE.

In April of 2010, the 3000-L mailing list veterans commented on the prospects for a new OS at HP. The company hadn't even announced a TouchPad at that time. But the skepticism seeped swiftly from a group of people who'd seen the worst happen to an HP product. "What a handy way to wipe out WebOS," started the comments. "Can HP actually go anyplace with WebOS?" Tracy Pierce asked. "The old HP could have, but the old HP seems to have been dead for at least 10 years."

Olav Kappert, who's now offering 3000 consulting at $35 an hour, lobbed out first with "Now if only HP could put MPE or Unix on them. Or should I say, when will HP discontinue support for the new OS?"

Duane Percox of K-12 software vendor QSS had a few more details to consider, all of which look crucial in hindsight, 16 months later. To start, Percox pegged the Old HP's spotty record in software.

It's as if MPE was a success because it was built, not bought. "I never saw where the old HP acquired software assets and did anything positive," Percox said. "I’m not saying the New HP would do any better, but I know the old HP would have dinked around and let the acquired software waste away.
Regarding “What a handy way to wipe out webOS...”:

The best way to wipe out webOS was for Palm to do a lousy marketing job and to place the Pre with Sprint. Based on the numbers it appears that Palm already tanked, so no need to worry about HP messing it up.

So, why would HP buy something with so little market share that appears to be going backwards? The same reason Steve Jobs doesn’t like Flash on the iPhone/iPad.

Think about it...

* HP has mobile devices that are dependent on Microsoft...
* Android is technology that HP can’t control
* WebOS gives HP a platform to create a controllable solution that offers the best possible user experience vs the iPhone/iPad

Now, add to the mix the fact that ex-Palm and Apple heavy hitters now work at HP and you start to see some interesting possibilities. Can HP execute and pull this off? Only time will tell but it should be an interesting ride.