HP today announced that as part of their transition to making open source software instead of devices and hardware they are further reducing the headcount at what remains of the webOS unit. Approximately 275 of the 500 webOS employees will be affected by the don't-call-it-layoffs, almost entirely in engineering (those that make webOS work with hardware). With nearly 350,000 employees, HP surely has more than enough openings for these engineers to fill, should they so desire to keep working with the company (who knows, they might not even have to move buildings). The move leaves webOS with around 225 employees, following notable attrition and little recruiting over the past few months.
The move fits with HP's plans to move the webOS group out of the old 1000-employee Palm campus and to the smaller space in Cupertino that HP acquired when they purchased ArcSight in 2010. While we can understand the need to get rid of positions that are no longer needed (even if Whitman intends for HP to eventually make webOS tablets again in the future), we can't help but be saddened to see yet another reduction in the webOS workforce.
HP's statement on the matter:
As webOS continues the transition from making mobile devices to open source software, it no longer needs many of the engineering and other related positions that it required before. This creates a smaller and more nimble team that is well-equipped to deliver an open source webOS and sustain HP’s commitment to the software over the long term.
HP is working to redeploy employees affected by these changes to other roles at the company.
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