Jon Rubinstein, the man responsible more than any other for the creation of the webOS, has been replaced as the head of the HP business unit responsible for the ongoing development of this operating system and associated devices.
Rubinstein is being replaced by Stephen DeWitt, who previously was the chief of HP’s Personal Systems Group in the Americas Region, where he improved this group’s profitability and marketshare in notebook computers since his arrival in 2008. “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,” was the endorsement of Todd Bradley, executive VP for HP Personal Systems Group, and a member of the HP Executive Board.
DeWitt himself said, “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.” He also spoke of the need to work with developers to create “an application eco-system that delivers on HP’s mobile connectivity strategy.”
DeWitt is taking the reins of a newly-renamed division: the webOS Global Business Unit. Previously, this was called the Palm Global Business Unit, as its all that’s left of the company previously known as Palm, Inc. before HP acquired it last year. With this change, the last remains of the old “Palm” days have been swept away.
A New Role for Rubinstein
Jon Rubinstein has been named senior vice president for product innovation for the Personal Systems Group. This will give him a role in developing a much larger group of HP products, not just smartphones and tablets.
Rubinstein was the man who turned Palm, Inc. around… almost. He took over a company struggling to find a replacement for the Palm OS, and lead the way to creating the webOS.
However, Apple was first to market with the iOS and Google quickly followed with the Android OS. By the time Palm had its offering ready, it had a hard time competing against these larger rivals. As a result, HP purchased Palm last year, and is making the webOS the centerpiece of its mobile strategy.
HP has released a video with some comments from Stephen DeWitt on the webOS: