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HP Plays WebOS Waiting Game

PALO ALTO, Calif. (TheStreet) -- HP (HPQ) yet to decide what to do with its webOS software, despite rumors that an announcement on operating system's future was imminent.

The no. 1 PC maker reportedly held a meeting with employees late on Tuesday to discuss webOS, amidst media chatter that the company may look to sell off the software.

HP CEO Meg Whitman

The Verge Web site says, however, that HP CEO Meg Whitman told the employees that there's still no decision on webOS.

"It's really important to me to make the right decision, not the fast decision," she said, according to the report, adding that a decision would come in the next three to four weeks.

HP described the software as "strategically important" earlier this year, hinting that it may license the technology to other companies.

Experts say that webOS has plenty to offer within HP's own technology portfolio. Famed for its strength in multitasking and video playback, webOS could also be used to drive printer connections to a range of devices, such as digital cameras.

The tech bellwether has apparently not ruled out keeping the mobile operating system. "If HP decides [to keep webOS], we're going to do it in a very significant way over a multi-year period," Whitman reportedly told the meeting, adding that "it's a very expensive proposition, but HP can make that bet."

The CEO also said that the webOS decision had been delayed while the company worked out what to do with its vast PC division. HP investigated a controversial PC spinoff as part of a major restructuring effort announced by former CEO Leo Apotheker, although Whitman, his successor, ultimately decided to keep the Personal Systems Group (PSG).

Whitman acknowledged the "unsatisfying" webOS delay, according to The Verge, but noted that "the economics of this business are tough." The HP supremo said that she needs more time to decide whether HP should invest in webOS at great expense, or if "there's another way to create that ecosystem."

An HP spokesman told TheStreet that the tech giant does not comment on internal company meetings. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm has not issued any definitive statements on the future of webOS.

HP pulled the plug on its webOS-based hardware during the summer, fueling speculation about the future of the underlying mobile operating system.

Shares of HP fell $1.21, or 4.4%, to $26.63 on Wednesday.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/jamesjrogers.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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