Apple's domination of the tablet computer market appears close to unshakable as would-be rival Hewlett-Packard falls flat and Apple's production line reportedly gets ready for the third-generation iPad.
Hewlett-Packard's webOS-based TouchPad never really left the launchpad, gathering dust on the shelves of retailers like Best Buy. On Thursday, the company said it would end support for TouchPad and other webOS products as it reorganizes, and likely would spin off the Personal Systems Group that has run the personal-computer end of its business.
Missed Targets and Milestones
"HP is implementing a plan to fundamentally transform the company," according to a statement made by HP with its quarterly earnings report. An important component of the plan is focusing its "investments, resources and management attention to drive higher value solutions" -- focusing on enterprise customers, small and midsize businesses, and public sector customers.
In a separate statement, Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP said it would drop the TouchPad and webOS smartphones because the devices "have not met internal milestones and financial targets," adding, "HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward."
HP acquired webOS as part of its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm Inc., in April 2010. Best Buy has been stuck with a large inventory of the devices, the Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD blog reported this week, with only about 25,000 of 270,000 TouchPads that were shipped to the chain having been sold to-date.
As a back-to-school promotion, HP initially knocked $100 off the price of the TouchPad, taking it down to $399 for the 16GB model, and $499 for the 32GB model. Then, the company made the price-cut permanent last week.
"Despite a large marketing and TV advertising campaign for its TouchPad tablet, HP was not able to net meaningful gains from its $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm," said mobile devices analyst Jeff Orr of ABI Research. "HP has also been increasingly vocal about its plans to move away from the consumer computing market, which didn't bode well for the launch of the new webOS devices."
Still Sweet for Apple