It may have been overshadowed by pricier acquisition deals in subsequent years, but HP's 2010 takeover of Palm remains a milestone event. It was a seemingly perfect combination of a highly competitive mobile operating system with a deep-pocketed hardware juggernaut. HP promised it would fund the future development of webOS and support it with a broad ecosystem of devices. Only a year later, however, the company reversed course and abandoned its touted plans, to the chagrin of hard-hit shareholders.
A class action lawsuit filed in the wake of that decision in 2011 has now been settled by HP at the cost of $57 million. The plaintiffs are primarily pension funds and other institutional investors, whose anger stems from the dissonance between what HP was saying publicly and planning privately. Citing employees from within HP, the lawsuit alleges that the company didn't have plans to build webOS PCs or printers until at least the beginning of 2013, which would have contradicted its bold claims about flooding the market with webOS hardware.
Dissonance between what HP was saying publicly and planning privately
With this mediated settlement out of the way, HP can perhaps finally draw a line under its woeful webOS experience, particularly after selling off the last remnants of its Palm acquisition to Qualcomm earlier this year.