webOS : HP (Apotheker) :: Newton : Apple (Jobs)

I’ve been a mobile tech junkie for a while now, and watching HP recently kill their webOS devices (effectively, webOS itself) has given me an interesting feeling of deja vu. The situation here has some strong parallels to the plight of the Newton.

  • Both the Newton and webOS were considered to be good technology, with users that liked them.
  • Both had new CEOs (Steve Jobs for Apple, Leo Apotheker for HP) come in who hadn’t been in charge when the products were created/acquired.
  • Both CEOs decided to basically kill off the product lines and make fundamental changes in their company’s direction.

I am not trying to compare Apotheker and Jobs as CEOs or HP and Apple as companies. I’m merely noting the similarities in these specific situations (and intentionally ignoring the other obvious differences between the larger picture issues between the companies).