You’d think spending a billion dollars on a smartphone company would indicate a desire to, say, make and sell smartphones, but you’d apparently be thinking wrong: HP CEO Mark Hurd just told investors at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch tech conference that his company “didn’t buy Palm to be in the smartphone business,” and that he’s not going to “spend billions of dollars trying to go into the smartphone business; that doesn’t in any way make any sense.” Yes, that sound you’re hearing is Jon Rubinstein’s heart breaking into a million tiny pieces. According to Hurd, HP was actually more interested in Palm’s IP — specifically webOS, which he wants to put on “tens of millions of HP small form-factor web-connected devices.” Sure, that makes sense, and it lines up perfectly with HP’s plan to “double down on webOS” and put it on everything from netbooks and slates to printers, but hey, Mark? You should really look into the smartphone business when you get a second, okay? Just trust us on this one.
We didn’t buy Palm to be in the smartphone business. And I tell people that, but it doesn’t seem to resonate well. We bought it for the IP. The WebOS is one of the two ground-up pieces of software that is built as a web operating environment…We have tens of millions of HP small form factor web-connected devices…Now imagine that being a web-connected environment where now you can get a common look and feel and a common set of services laid against that environment. That is a very value proposition.