It looks like HP's decided to shake things up in its webOS division, almost exactly a year after it completed its purchase of Palm. Stephen DeWitt is now the senior vice president of webOS, replacing Jon Rubinstein, who'll "assume a product innovation role" in HP's Personal Systems Group, which encompasses webOS. DeWitt will be in charge of everything webOS from engineering to marketing, so this is a major change at the top -- and we're noting HP's changed the name from "Palm" to the "webOS Global Business Unit," so this also seems like the end of Palm as we'd ever known it. As for Ruby, it sounds like he'll be floating within the PSG at large, working generally on new products -- the press release doesn't say whether those'll specifically be new webOS devices or not.
HP's not giving any real reasons for the switchup, but DeWitt was formerly in charge of HP's Personal Systems Group in the Americas, where he managed to expand profitability and market share, so this feels a lot like HP's putting a proven operations guy in charge of execution while shifting Rubinstein over to developing new products. That might be for the best, actually: it's no secret that we're big fans of Ruby, but it's also no secret that we've found the last few webOS devices -- including the TouchPad -- sorely lacking in polish. Having someone in charge to tighten up execution while Rubinstein focuses on interesting new products could work out quite well, or it could be the first step to him leaving the company entirely. Either way, it's clear that HP now intends to take a much more hands-on approach to webOS -- we'll see what the next year brings.
HP to Drive Innovation, Scale and Growth of webOS
Stephen DeWitt to lead HP’s webOS global business unit; Jon Rubinstein named senior vice president of product innovation for PSG
PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Building on the successful launch of HP webOS 3.0, HP (NYSE: HPQ) today announced it is accelerating the global expansion of webOS.
To support this next phase of growth, HP has appointed Stephen DeWitt as senior vice president and general manager of its webOS global business unit. Jon Rubinstein, the visionary behind webOS, will assume a product innovation role within the Personal Systems Group (PSG) at HP.
This announcement underscores HP’s strategy to provide a seamless, secure, context-aware experience across HP’s product portfolio, and to deliver innovation at unmatched scale.
“With the successful debut of our first wave of webOS-based products, we are drawing on our deep executive bench to position the right leaders in the right roles to accelerate the long-term growth of webOS,” said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, and member of the Executive Board, HP. “Stephen DeWitt has a proven ability to build and scale organizations into global, multibillion dollar operations, and I am confident that he will take webOS to the next level. At the same time, we continue to leverage the core strengths of Silicon Valley icon Jon Rubinstein to apply his considerable talents across the PSG portfolio.”
DeWitt, who has been leading the PSG Americas region at HP, will be responsible for all aspects of the webOS business, including engineering, research and development, sales, marketing and go-to-market support. In his new role, DeWitt will spearhead the creation of a fully integrated, global developer and independent software vendor program to deliver new consumer and business applications. DeWitt’s team also will create a dedicated mobility practice with HP’s partner community, with the goal of delivering consumer and enterprise solutions globally.
DeWitt has dramatically improved PSG’s profitability and share position in the America’s region since his arrival to HP in 2008. He is succeeded by Stephen DiFranco, head of the Solutions Partners Organization for the Americas region at HP.
“Innovation is at the core of webOS, and I look forward to working with our talented team of engineers as we strive to develop the industry’s most compelling set of products, solutions and services in markets around the world,” said DeWitt. “As part of our investment in the future of webOS, we are working in lock step with the developer community, our channel partners and the start-up community to create an application ecosystem that delivers on HP’s mobile connectivity strategy.”
Jon Rubinstein has been named senior vice president for Product Innovation in the Personal Systems Group at HP. He will continue to report to Todd Bradley in this role, helping to propel innovation across product lines. HP will leverage Rubinstein’s passion for building exceptional consumer products and his long history of driving game changing innovation, such as webOS.
“With the launch of webOS 3.0, our team has delivered a world-class platform for HP to leverage going forward, and it is now time to take things to the next level,” said Rubinstein. “With webOS under Stephen DeWitt’s proven leadership, I’m looking forward to my new role and driving further innovation for webOS and other PSG products.”