Talk about an about face!

It wasn’t long ago that Hewlett-Packard (HP) said it was getting out of the PC business, despite being the world’s largest PC distributor.

About two months prior to quitting the PC business, HP had, with great fanfare, launched the HP TouchPad, its own 9.7 inch tablet running on HP webOS.

The price started out at $499 for the 16GB version, $599 for the 32GB version. Sales were dismal. So HP had a sale, offering $100 off each. Then they said the $100 discount was a permanent price decrease.

Sales were still terrible – so what does a mature 72 year old company do in such a circumstance?

Throw a temper tantrum.

HP threw up its arms and gave all the HP TouchPads away (practically) for $99 and $149. Then, with a final huff, they said they wouldn’t make computers any more. Us shoppers didn’t appreciate them enough, so they took their ball and left the field.

But tantrums do fade with time… and it also helps when an adult, in the form of  new HP CEO Meg Whitman (former CEO of eBay) steps in and takes control.

So today HP announced that it will keep making PC’s, and will even be building tablets running the upcoming Windows 8 operating system. Whitman, in a call with analysts, said she does not believe it’s too late for HP to succeed in the tablet market, and that HP will be narrowing its focus to succeed not just into next year, but on into the future.

“One of my observations is that HP tries to do a lot of things, and I am big believer in doing a small number of things really, really well — set them up, knock them down, set them up, knock them down,” Whitman said of the company’s new focus.

What will become of the HP TouchPad? HP has said through their blog that another manufacturing run is in progress and more will be available, though it is expected to be a final run. And what of webOS? According to Whitman, that’s still under discussion.