Hewlett Packard will be shipping WebOS on all their PC's starting next year. This will hurt Microsoft badly as their biggest hardware partner will be no longer exclusively tied into the Windows operating system.
HP CEO Leo Apotheker has told Bloomberg News that HP ‘lost its soul' under former chief executive Mark Hurd and that he is going to work hard to restore HP's reputation as an innovator by focusing on software. Part of this plan will involve the company shipping every PC they make with WebOS …. with Windows set up as a dual boot option.
Microsoft have also said that they won't have a true tablet operating system until the 2012 back to school season, which it plans to release Windows 8 which will be geared to run on ARM's mobile processors. In this 18 month area, HP are going to be selling their personal computers, with a focus on WebOS, not Windows. Microsoft are getting hit hard from all corners of the industry and are struggling to know what direction to repair. Their Windows Phone 7 launch has been less than a success and analysts are feeling that Microsoft management aren't really taking the mobile marketspace all that seriously.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, when approached about tablets in last summers financial analysts meeting said ‘Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah'. We aren't joking, the transcript is available over here. Ray Ozzie, a senior executive in Redmond who seemed aware of the tasks ahead for Microsoft was removed from the company. He said “Certain of our competitors' products and their rapid advancement & refinement of new usage scenarios have been quite noteworthy. Our early and clear vision notwithstanding, their execution has surpassed our own in mobile experiences, in the seamless fusion of hardware & software & services, and in social networking & myriad new forms of Internet-centric social interaction.
We at Microsoft know from our common past—even the past five years—that if we know what needs to be done, and if we act decisively, any challenge can be transformed into a significant opportunity. And so, the first step for each of us is to imagine fearlessly, to dream.”
Microsoft face the daunting task of rewriting parts of 50 million lines of code for mobile platforms, but many say that doing so in less than 18 months is next to impossible due to the complex nature of the rewriting.
KitGuru says: With Hewlett Packard moving their focus to WebOS and the challenges faced in the mobile sector, Microsoft have a tough year ahead of them.