An Open Letter to Hewlett-Packard


You’ve announced the end of webOS cloud services and I couldn’t be happier.

But before I tell you why, I need to explain that I’m not writhing in disgust from the continuous seeming onslaught of monthly (if not weekly) bad news webOS users get from our increasingly patched-to-stay-relevant devices.  To continue we need to discuss history.

I’m sure you know all about webOS’ storied past. The Pre was to be “the iPhone killer”. And as they were the dominant innovator in the history of PDAs, Palm was to be the bright spot in the future of mobile computing as well.

But too many mistakes were made and they tallied up the failure of a project originally lauded as “Best in Show” at CES 2009. The Pre2 was set for the next release but Palm was dipping into cash and set themselves down a path headed for disaster. And when things looked bleak, you came to the rescue. You came in, released the Pre2, and got to work on the Veer, Pre3, and TouchPad. Without you, the Pre2 might have been the end of webOS devices (had Palm released it on their own).

You also brought over much of the Palm team, the infrastructure, and gave it the CTO leadership it needed in Phil McKinney. webOS 3.0 was born in this timeframe and many plans were made. Plans which Léo Apotheker decisively and abruptly cancelled, much to Palm fans’ dismay.

But you made a promise to webOS users. Cloud services would be “kept running to allow customers to continue to have a richer user experience” with no proposed future end date. But as we now know, that end date is 15 March, 2015. Just 3 days away from this writing.

You might be thinking “when will the ‘snark’ begin” in this letter. In fact, I really am truly happy to be cutting the cord.

webOS users have long been getting apps, patches, and custom webOS Doctors from the community so the shutdown of the App Catalog isn’t all that upsetting. We will still make, share, and use new and old webOS apps without it.

Now the loss of backups and account restoration at initial setup is a bummer which is really the worst part about all of this. Setting up a new device now becomes a little bit harder only because steps will be added. But it’s not impossible or even difficult.

What this letter is for…is to formally and personally thank you.

You gave me the last and best iteration of webOS phones. You gave me my favorite tablets. You kept the cloud services alive long enough to allow the community of faithful users to plan for life without it. You sold webOS to LG instead of shelving it. You open sourced webOS and that berthed LuneOS which along with what LG has in store will be the future of our beloved platform. You gave Palm a new life by selling it to TCL.

In short, despite your added failure to the platform alongside Palm’s, what I have and enjoy in webOS still today is in a way, completely thanks to your efforts. You tried. You failed terribly and the community paid the price but I’m glad you tried.

When the cloud services shut down this Sunday, I will shed no tears. The community will finally be rid of the last shred of dependency we have on HP.

So long. Good riddance.



Talk about my letter if ya want.