HP romps with Palm and Microsoft

Opinion

HP romps with Palm and Microsoft

Hewlett-Packard PSG head Todd Bradley has bitten the bullet and announced that a Palm-based webOS HP tablet will be coming to the market in 2011, but added that it will not be canning its Windows 7 powered Slate, as many - including me - had suggested it would.

Speaking to investors as the vendor unveiled its quarterly results last night, Bradley said: "You'll see us with a Microsoft product out in the near future and a webOS-based product in early 2011."

So, HP is apparently entertaining the possibility of a three-in-a-bed romp with both Palm's and Microsoft's developers.

Actually, HP believes it can pitch the webOS device at the consumer end of the market, and the Slate at business users.

Fair enough, but I'm not sure that these are areas that can really be neatly split when it comes to tablets. The mobile workforce wants, and will bring, its consumer functionality into the office, regardless of how HP would like them to operate.

So this leaves me with questions. How will HP square the two should it not go according to Bradley's plan? Which product will the sales teams push?

It was ProCurve (now HP Networking) that was damaged back in the Fiorina days by HP's dalliances with Cisco; I think there is a similar danger here.

We wanted some clarity on HP's intentions and I suppose this is what we've got, but I'm left thinking analysis of this move is perhaps best left to a marriage guidance counsellor.

This was first published in August 2010

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