HP to 'wind down' webOS as Q4 2011 profits drop 91% to $239 million

Platform incurs costs of $3.3 billion

HP to 'wind down' webOS as Q4 2011 profits drop 91% to $239 million
Newly appointed CEO Meg Whitman may have sat on the fence regarding webOS's future since she took up the position, but it appears the firm's bottom line may have made the decision for her.

Profits slid 91 percent year-on-year to $239 million during the firm's fourth quarter, despite a 1 percent rise in revenue to $32.3 billion.

The cause? The $3.3 billion total costs incurred as a result of webOS's torrid last few months appear to have been a significant factor.

Weeping webOS

As a result, HP finally seems resigned to dropping support for the platform – picked up in 2010 as a result of its $1.2 billion buyout of Palm.

The report itself openly refers to the “wind down of webOS”, despite recent comments by Whitman suggesting no final decision on both webOS and TouchPad's future had yet been made.

HP still holds plans to sell the business, according to VentureBeat, which reports any deal is reliant on an agreement to license the platform back for HP's printers – a condition the site claims has been "crucial" during its talks with prospective buyers.

It's also possible HP will continue to manufacturer tablets in the future, with chatter suggesting the firm is currently testing Windows 8 on TouchPad units.

Consistency key

"HP has a great opportunity to build on our strong hardware, software, and services franchises with leading market positions, customer relationships, and intellectual property," said Whitman.

"We need to get back to the business fundamentals in fiscal 2012, including making prudent investments in the business and driving more consistent execution."

Full year GAAP earnings came in at $7.1 billion, down from $8.8 billion in 2010 – a fall of 19 percent.

[source: HP]

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.