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Former Palm execs say webOS was doomed from the beginning

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 7:40PM EST

HP recently made the decision to open source webOS, the mobile operating system it acquired when it bought Palm in April, 2010. While it’s arguable that HP was responsible for the demise of webOS, several former Palm executives told The New York Times that the operating system was doomed from the start. “Palm was ahead of its time in trying to build a phone software platform using web technology, and we just weren’t able to execute such an ambitious and breakthrough design,” former senior director of software at Palm Paul Mercer said. “Perhaps it never could have been executed because the technology wasn’t there yet.” Mercer explained that webOS relied too heavily on WebKit, which meant applications weren’t able to run as smoothly as they did on an iPhone. It also didn’t help that Palm wasn’t able to get a heavy developer following. A source speaking to The New York Times also said neither Palm nor HP could find the right engineers or leadership to help the platform take off and that there weren’t enough programmers to help build the OS. HP’s CEO Meg Whitman confirmed recently that new webOS hardware is still on the way, however, so perhaps the company has started to work out some of the operating system’s initial setbacks. Probably not, though.