Running Out the Clock at Hewlett-Packard

You know that feeling you get when you're at work, and you're just half an hour away from calling it a day, and all you can do is stare at the time, running out the clock until the day is done?

It seems like that's what Hewlett-Packard (NYS: HPQ) exec Jon Rubinstein has been doing. HP got him as part of its $1.2-billion Palm package a couple years ago, as he was Palm CEO at the time. Rubinstein has now satisfied a 12- to 24-month commitment to stay onboard after Palm was put out of its misery in April 2010. That timeframe is a bit vague, and we're still a couple months short of two years, but HP said that "Jon has fulfilled his commitment and we wish him well."

Rubinstein doesn't have anything planned, telling AllThingsD, "I am going to take a well-deserved break after four and a half years of developing webOS." That statement is telling, since it shows how emotionally tied to webOS Rubinstein has always been.

It's been his baby all along, and he didn't take too kindly when HP ex-CEO Leo Apotheker tried to axe his pride and joy, especially since Apotheker allegedly pulled a fast one on him without even warning Rubinstein of webOS' impending destruction. Rubinstein has reportedly been rather scarce around HP HQ ever since that fateful announcement in August.

It's also not a stretch to think that Rubinstein also isn't too keen on current CEO Meg Whitman resurrecting his offspring only to give it away for free. HP just outlined its open-source schedule for the OS, aiming to release Open webOS 1.0 in September.

Talk about an emotional roller coaster: It's dead! No, it's alive! Wait, now it's free!

After leaving his hardware exec position at Apple (NAS: AAPL) in 2006 and eventually defecting to rival Palm, he had high hopes of challenging his former employer in the mobile arena. Those dreams fizzled, as webOS has never remotely approached commercial success.

Well, at least now Rubinstein can focus more time on his board seat as a director at (NAS: AMZN) .

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