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HP: Spinning PC unit off would have cost billions

Agam Shah | Oct. 31, 2011
Spinning off its PC unit would have been too costly for Hewlett-Packard, and that was one of the reasons why the company backed off from the plan it announced in August, an HP executive said on Friday.

Looking ahead, Prophet said HP's future PC and tablet strategy revolves around Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 OS. Microsoft has not announced a release date for the OS, but a top Intel executive earlier this month said the OS would be released next year.

"Obviously the major trends and the most important transition point will be Windows," HP's Prophet said. "We intend and are working to be a leader with Windows 8."

HP will release a Windows 8 tablet in the future, and also ultrabooks with the OS. Ultrabooks are being promoted by Intel as a new category of thin-and-light PCs with tablet-like features.

Meanwhile, the fate of HP's webOS mobile platform hangs in balance. The company is still analyzing what to do with webOS, Prophet said.

In August, HP said it would keep webOS but kill smartphones and TouchPad tablets based on the OS. A buying frenzy ensued after HP sold remaining TouchPad tablets starting at $99. Smartphones such as Palm Pre and Pixi also sold out in the fire sale.

Prophet did not comment on the eventual fate of the TouchPad, but a company spokeswoman said support for the device will continue. It's too early to comment on smartphones, Prophet said.

 

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