updated 10:50 am EST, Wed December 1, 2010
HP abandons Windows Home Server for webOS
Microsoft was dealt a hit late Tuesday as HP confirmed that it was dropping Windows Home Server. The company will phase out its MediaSmart home servers at the end of 2010 and will switch to Palm's webOS for future devices. Microsoft was adamant that the exit had nothing to do with the upcoming Vail update dropping Drive Extender.
HP's departure leaves Microsoft without Windows Home Server's most important supporter. The software developer tried to reassure others that the platform would still survive by making Acer publicly pledge support for its easyStore servers as well as reference fellow WHS supporter Tranquil PC.
The move could nonetheless jeopardize the network-attached storage platform by taking it out of the public eye. It should affect both Windows and Mac users as either could support the platform.
Microsoft has often counted on HP as its most loyal partner, being both the largest Windows PC builder in the world as well as often automatically defaulting to the Microsoft option for its earlier mobile, server and tablet strategies. Since HP acquired Palm, however, it has been been rapidly moving away from a Windows-based ecosystem. It now focuses almost exclusively on webOS for phones, plans to use it for printers and many other devices. Windows suffered a symbolic blow when HP relegated the Windows 7 Slate to enterprise in favor of webOS after Microsoft had tried to promote it as a home tablet at CES.