HP confirms layoffs at Palm unit

HP has started laying off workers associated with last year’s billion-dollar acquisition of Palm, as it closes down the mobile device business it planned to base on Palm’s webOS. The news comes almost exactly a month after HP announced a sweeping reorganization and refocusing of its business.

HP shows off the webOS in happier times.

News reports say that HP has confirmed the layoffs have begun, but declined to say how many will end up with pink slips. AllThingsD, The Wall Street Journal’s tech blog, says the number could reach 525.

“As part of this decision, the webOS (unit) is undergoing a reduction in workforce,” according to the HP statement.

HP bought the struggling Palm last year, to launch a new mobile product line based on webOS, which was introduced by Palm with the Pre smartphone. This summer, HP unveiled the HP TouchPad, its first entry in the hot tablet computer market.

But within weeks, in the face of bad reviews and lackluster sales, HP scrapped the device, and CEO Leo Apotheker unveiled the company’s new strategic directions, which don’t include smartphones and tablets.

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