Several members of Hewlett-Packard’s Enyo group are moving to Google, according to The Verge.
HP originally inherited the webOS mobile operating system as part of its $1.2 acquisition of Palm in 2010, and first pushed it onto the ill-fated TouchPad tablet in the summer of 2011. Despite a good deal of hype heading into that release, the device failed to gain traction with either consumers or businesses, and then-CEO Leo Apotheker eventually ordered the initiative shut down.
HP then decided to make webOS an open-source project. In January, it released a roadmap that included new versions of Enyo in April and July, with the Open webOS 1.0 appearing in September.
Sources told The Verge that the Enyo team members jumping ship were “responsible for 99 percent of the code.” Meanwhile, HP’s official statement on the matter did its best to spin the situation in a positive light, while also managing to avoid mention of the departing employees.
“We’re pleased with the traction Enyo has gained to date and plan to continue its development along with the open source community,” it read. “The Open webOS project is on schedule and we remain committed to the roadmap announced in January.”
HP is in the midst of a significant shakeup, in the wake of two years of CEO resignations and confusion over future strategy. In a bid to right itself, the company is pouring additional funds into research and development, most notably its cloud, security and data-analytics products.
In the meantime, Open webOS and Enyo offer the prospect of a new platform for developing apps, which in turn could act as portals for a host of cloud services. The Enyo team joining Google has the potential to change the app-building landscape in interesting ways—but for the moment, all the players involved are keeping their lips firmly shut about future plans.