He hadn't held the job for very long, but today HP has told us that veteran Palm employee and webOS Developer Relations head Fred Patton is departing the company for the ever vague "opportunity outside" of HP. Here's the official statement on the matter:
"Fred Patton is leaving HP to pursue another opportunity outside the company. Enda McGrath will lead the developer relations team on an interim basis as we continue our work with the community on Open webOS."
Now, you might be thinking, "Hey, didn't Patton just get that job a few weeks ago?" You're right, it was unofficially unveiled six weeks and one day ago that Patton had taken the head position of webOS Developer Relations. Patton had stepped in after the departure of veritable rock star developer relations VP Richard Kerris in October. And if you'll flashback with us to that tumultuous time in late October, you'll find similar wording of "to pursue an opportunity outside of the company." Kerris, of course, ended up landing at Nokia where he's been working to build up the Windows Phone catalog of apps, along with a handful of former HP webOS developer relations staff.
For his part, Enda McGrath is an eleven year Palm veteran, having worked in technical and developer support functions over the past decade. Yeah, he's been with Palm for a while - all the way back to the days of Palm OS 5.0 and the Tungsten line of PDAs. We'll admit we're not super familiar with McGrath, though we hope that we and the community will get to know him a bit better until such time that HP decides on a permanent lead for developer relations.
We're hearing that HP's wanting to work on expanding their developer relations beyond app developers contributing to the App Catalog; they're hoping to bring in a wider community of open source developers to help contribute to Open webOS. The help facilitate this goal, HP's looking at its own employees and possible external hires to fill the vacancy on a more permanent basis. All we can hope is that they manage to pick somebody good who can stay on for a while... just when we feel like we're getting to know somebody they're whisked away to corners unknown.