HP Spins Off WebOS Into ‘Gram’

Hewlett-Packard is spinning off its webOS global business unit into a subsidiary called Gram.

In a vague statement, HP described Gram as ” a new company leveraging the core strengths of webOS, Enyo and our cloud offerings as well as the firepower of our partners to create a technology that will unleash the freedom of the Web.” Whatever that means.

And the spinoff won’t be producing consumer devices. Instead, it will focus on software, user experience, the cloud, engineering and partnering. HP’s webOS and Enyo teams will move to Gram. So will the webOS group’s cloud services team, which webOS Nation reports to be still quite large with respect to the unit’s overall size. It speculates, though, that webOS’s role will be smaller within the overall mission of Gram. Still, the company is advertising 16 webOS positions.

Google hired away a half-dozen or so members of the Enyo team in May.

But remember back in June, when phonenews.com reported that HP seemed to be hiring a startup team for webOS? Gram apparently is it. A memo from HP Vice President Martin Risau describes Gram as being in stealth mode with employees advised to talk about it only to family and friends.  He says:

Tap your network. Help us hire the best and the brightest, refer your friends and help us in our shared purpose as we continue our rise to the top. You can use the name to help us to recruit.

Of course, no one seems to know what the new company is or does, so recruiting might be difficult. And with HP in the midst of massive layoffs, its commitment to webOS remains unclear.

No timeline for Gram has been announced, but webOS Nation says it could be by the end of next month. HP says the webOS mobile operating system is still on track to be released as an open source project in September.

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