I don’t see any basis to conclude that HP’s spinoff of its PSG will result in the death of webOS. To the contrary, I think it may result in another round of webOS recharge.
Todd Bradley has a strong history with Palm and spearheaded HP's acquisition of Palm. Up until recently, Bradley had a strong interest in pursuing webOS, and there is no reason to believe that interest has changed.
Bradley and Leo are now engaged in the usual pre-spinoff negotiations over what stays with HP and what leaves with PSG. Things like how much cash the PSG will take with it, what patents it will own, etc. There will be tradeoffs and compromises ... "Ok, the PSG can own this set of patents, but only if it takes this piece of debt,” or vice versa. Somewhere along the line, perhaps before Todd Bradley even knew the negotiations had begun, Leo told him, "Sorry, TB, but the PSG does not get to keep webOS. HP is keeping webOS when you leave."
In response to that statement from Leo, I like to imagine that TB replied, "Well F*** U, dirtbag. Then the PSG is shutting down production of all those crappy devices you made us push out the door. My company is not going to be responsible for warranty calls on something that we told you wasn’t ready.”
And I like to imagine TB continuing ... "Now, MoFo, who are you going to get to manufacture anything with the software that you say you are keeping? Don’t you realize that if your own manufacturing group won’t do it, then nobody will? So here's my offer. Make me a sweet deal, with plenty of financial incentives during the early years, plus an exclusivity period to protect our initial investment, and we can talk about my company doing what you couldn’t do. If not, well …."