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Techmuse: HP Retreats

August 18, 2011

Big news in the world of technology today, as HP announces that it will withdraw from the tablet and phone markets, and possibly from the HP market. This is pretty major news – HP was one of the major PC producers, so the possibility of getting out of that market (or spinning off that portion into a separate company, similar to what IBM did with Lenovo) has the chance to really shake up the major players. Now, there is a debate, probably worth its own post, as to whether the PC is “dead” – so much of the technology market has become devoted to tablets, smartphones, laptops, and the like. Certainly desktops have become less important, but still represent the backbone of many companies – think Dell, for instance.

The backing off from the Smartphone and Tablet markets is a little less surprising, and at first blush, can be summed up by “Apple”. Apple has some a dominant place in the Tablet market that reports were that Best Buy, which bought 250k or so of HPs tablet, only sold 25k (not accounting for returns), and was trying to convince HP to take them back. Meanwhile, Apple and Samsung are going back and forth in legal filings over the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and Apple can’t make enough Ipad 2’s ( it is just recently that Apple’s estimated order fulfillment dropped to 24 hours, their “normal” timeframe, on the iPad2).

In smartphones, things are a bit different. HP bought Palm, and to be honest, I don’t know what the status of Palm is – and what this announcement from HP might mean for the company. Certainly, this probably spells the end of WebOS, unless they are attempting to use it as an application suite. WebOS was already dying, so it’s not that big a deal, but still, a big shift. The Iphone and Android family are so dominant, with Blackberry still hanging on, that I think this is a logical winnowing of the smartphone OS market.

Exciting times in the technology realm

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