Former HP chief technology officer Phil McKinney is probably the best person in the world to ask about what happened with Palm and how was it that the company HP acquired for $1.2 billion was effectively killed within just over a year. Somehow, this question never surfaced, though, until now.
McKinney answered it in an interview focusing around his new book “Beyond the Obvious: Killer Questions That Spark Game-Changing Innovation.” The book is not about HP and Palm, but about innovation and innovation takes patience. HP didn’t have this patience after it switched CEOs and Leo Apotheker took over. Here’s the whole story in McKinney’s words:
What we previously thought is that killing Palm and open sourcing webOS is a result of the platform not performing well enough, but this puts the Palm unit at HP in a different perspective. Of course, it’s a fact that webOS didn’t have a brilliant start, but with such a drastic cut in the time allowance from three to one year, it’s easier to see how pressure built up for ex-Palm engineers. It also explains why Meg Whitman took so long to figure out what to do next with the division.
Looking back at the past, what do you think were HP’s webOS chances if engineers had the three years they were promised?
Thumbnail image courtesy of Thomas Lohnes/AFP.
- Did webOS stand a chance if HP had the patience for it?
Yes, webOS was innovative and the products were fine, it just needed time.
Yes, webOS was cool, but HP needed better/different devices.
No, webOS had a chance earlier with Palm and blew it.