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webOS daddy Jon Rubinstein exits HP

Enough is enough: 'I'm gonna go for a swim, have a little lunch..."

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Jon Rubinstein, late of NeXT, FirePower, Apple, and Palm, has resigned from his position at HP, where he endured the mismanagement and eventual overboarding of Palm's webOS mobile operating system.

"Jon Rubinstein has fulfilled his commitment to HP," an HP spokesperson emailed The Reg. "We wish him well."

And that's it. The long, sad saga of webOS, the open sourcing of which was announced in December, with more details released this Wednesday, has claimed its final prominent victim.

Rubinstein told The Verge that he had planned to stay at HP for 12 to 24 months after that troubled company acquired Palm and webOS. He lasted 19 months.

Speaking of his time at Palm before the acquisition, he said, "We ran out of runway, and we ended up at HP and HP wasn't in good enough shape on its own to be able to support the effort."

Those 19 months at HP were turbulent, indeed. "I had four CEOs!" Rubinstein said. "Mark [Hurd] acquired us, Cathie Lesjak took over as the interim CEO, then Leo [Apotheker], and now Meg [Whitman]."

After that bumper-car ride, and after the open sourcing of the operating system he shepherded through both Palm and HP, enough was apparently enough for Rubinstein. And, equally apparently, for HP.

Rubinstein's next step will be to chill. "I'm going to take a break," he told AllThingsD.

But retirement isn't in the cards. "I'm going to spend some time with my family and think about what to do next," he said. "Who knows what I'll do. Anything's possible.

Rubinstein's latest stint at HP wasn't his first. According to Bloomberg, Rubinstein architected the HP 9000 Series 300 workstation line, and was part of the team that designed the HP 9836.

After another Silicon Valley two-step or two, he then went on to become COO of PowerPC systems designer FirePower, which was acquired by Motorola in the summer of 1996. From there he went to Steve Jobs' nascent NeXT Computer, which he left a few years before that failing company – and Jobs – were acquired by Apple. Jobs suggested to Apple's soon-to-be-ex-CEO Gil Amelio that he hire Rubinstein, advice he took.

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