Hewlett Packard's desire to attract developers to the webOS platform even as it ceases production of tablets and smartphones based on the software may have just received an explanation: the company's hoping to sell.
While the Personal Systems Group - the division of HP responsible for consumer-grade laptops and desktops - has received a reprieve courtesy of freshly-crowned CEO Meg Whitman, the webOS division hasn't had as much luck.
It's true that Todd Bradley, the man leading HP's PSG, has denounced rumours that the software platform - originally a product of Palm before the PDA pioneer was plundered by HP under then-chief Apotheker's leadership - is due to be thrown out, but he didn't go so far as to declare it to be central to HP's new enterprise-centric approach to business.
Now, the Reuters news agency is claiming that HP is looking to sell webOS to the highest bidder as a way of offsetting its recent losses. Although the company has neither confirmed nor denied the rumours, several suitors have been suggested from Samsung - which is betting heavily on Google's Android platform, but which also has a finger in the homebrew world with its own-brand bada OS - to Oracle.
If true, the news is likely to be welcomed by fans of the platform: while webOS once formed the heart of HP's strategy, with the company mulling including it as a secondary operating system on every PC and laptop it sold, the platform has now been all-but abandoned.
A sale to a third party could inject some life into webOS, but comes with a risk that a buyer - especially one such as Oracle, which concentrates on enterprise-grade software - would ignore its original consumer focus in favour of a business-oriented approach.
Should HP sell, it will still find itself out of pocket: after paying $1.2 billion for Palm back in 2010, it has killed off the hardware division and is expected to get no more than a few hundred million dollars for webOS.
Tags: hp, samsung, palm, webos, touchpad, hewlett packard, meg whitman, leo apotheker, oracle