Huge news from one of Apple's biggest competitors today: Hewlett Packard (HP) and its board of directors have "authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group." In plain English, this means HP may be planning to spinning off its personal computer division into a separate company, while parent corporation HP will concentrate more fully on enterprise sales and deployment.
If this move sounds familiar, it's because that's almost exactly what IBM did in 2005 when it sold its PC business to Lenovo. IBM has since focused on enterprise applications and often stunning R&D projects, and the company has arguably been better off for it.
Perhaps more pertinent to those following the ongoing smartphone "wars," HP is also discontinuing its entire tablet and smartphone business. Sales of the TouchPad were reportedly extremely disappointing to both HP and its retail partners, so while unfortunate, the move is not particularly surprising. HP will continue development on webOS despite discontinuing sales and production of webOS devices, which brings to mind the possibility of HP licensing webOS to other smartphone manufacturers.
From the sounds of things, HP's chief competitor going forward will be IBM instead of Apple. Good luck to them.