HP joins the price gougers



#2

Well, HP has decided to join all the profiteers and price gougers, and the HP 15C LE is now in stock for $179.99 at hp Home & Home Office. In fact, they don't even offer free shipping on it, even though shipping is free on much cheaper models such as the 35s. Shame on you, HP.




Edited: 31 Jan 2012, 9:39 p.m.


#3

They probably noticed the old low price and raised it when it was mentioned here.

#4

Quote:
Shame on you, HP.

Price isn't the primary issue if the calculator is flawless in operation. HP is most shameful as the company continues to sell a defective product!


#5

Quote:
Price isn't the primary issue if the calculator is flawless in operation. HP is most shameful as the company continues to sell a defective product!

I totally agree. I guess although the name is the same, the HP from today is quite different from the HP that once was proud to sell quality products. "It's HP Jim, but not as we know it..." as Mr. Spock would say.


#6

Quote:
...the HP from today is quite different from the HP that once was proud to sell quality products.

Would that be the same HP that did such a great high quality job of engineering fool's tech NiCD charging systems on relatively expensive calculators like the Woodstocks...charging systems that easily destroys the calculator? Or produced flimsy press-fit PCB calculators like the early Spice models? Or produced card readers whose rollers turn to gum? Or produced an expensive calculator whose internal plastic screw columns split, causing circuit board separation, like the HP-41? Or produced battery compartment doors that crack the case like the Clamshells? Or produced an expensive RPL calculator with the worst quality fuzzy LCD that's ever been put on a calculator by anyone, like the HP 48S and G?

That must have been when Mr Hewlett and Mr. Packard were elsewhere. No, in fact Hewlett was President and CEO and Packard was Chairman of the Board for most of that time.


Edited: 1 Feb 2012, 3:22 p.m.

#7

Now there really is absolutely no reason to buy one.

#8

Charging what the market will bare. Sounds like a perfect example of capitalism in all its glory.

Moral. Now that's an altogether different question.


- Pauli

#9

Shame on you HP! I hope they will sell none for this price.


#10

Quote:
Shame on you HP! I hope they will sell none for this price.

I agree that raising the price this much isn't cool but I suppose the argument could be made that if they realize there actually is still a market for calculators reminiscent of the days of yore and they can make a profit at it, they'll do more of this.


#11

I doubt it. The only reason this particular product came to light is that there was a concerted effort over many years to do so, based on a petition with many signatures. Then, when it finally happened, there was a perfect storm of problems that sent those involved running for cover. I doubt anyone has the stomach at HP to go through all this again. Frankly, I interpret this latest action by HP of nearly doubling the already high price as their way of giving us the tifosi the big middle finger salute.


#12

Let's say you aren't a member of the calculator division at HP. Maybe you are up the management chain some. What do you see? You see a runaway popular product in the HP-15C. You see gougers buying the machine at wholesale, and reselling it for a big premium on the SRP. You see some people buying at retail, and also making a killing. Strictly from a business perspective, does it look to you like the calculator is priced appropriately by HP for the actual retail market?

Modern business exalts shareholder value over all else, including quality, suitability and customers. These are all means to an end: to boost the share price. Those of us who feel that customer focus and passion lead to brilliant design and thus to successful products, with increasing shareholder value as a side effect, will often be disappointed by companies like HP. It's not that the idea of building quality products has disappeared.The people who create products often have that customer focus, if for no other reason than it confers some self respect if you think you are helping to deliver something worthwhile. The problem is, that quality approach is subordinate to shareholder value. If the two ever conflict, the bottom line will win every time.


#13

This item has a microscopic impact on company profits, regardless of sales price. It is strictly an image item, and stock value or profitability is irrelevant. HP could have easily controlled the secondary market price gouging by increasing production levels and dispensing with the limited edition moniker.


#14

One possibility is that this price hike is a prelude to the introduction of just such a model. I'm always wildly optimistic. :)

My father worked for a rich guy in Nome Alaska in the 1950s.. He told me that he got this advice from his employer: "You get three pennies, you spend one, save one and invest one." Also, ignoring an opportunity to positively impact the bottom line is not the way for a manager to get ahead in a company that values its share price above all else. The increment you add may be tiny, but it shows that you hew to the bottom line, just like the people who might promote you do.


#15

Quote:
One possibility is that this price hike is a prelude to the introduction of just such a model. I'm always wildly optimistic. :)

I have signed the hp15C petition just for that reason, I expected to see a 15C or a modernised version of it back in the HP catalog on a regular basis like the 12C+. I didn't want a "limited version", which is quite difficult to get hold of and with an inflated price. Therefore, I haven't decided yet whether to buy one or not, given that I have my original 15C and 11C still perfectly working and in mint conditions. In general, I would like to have the chance to buy a numerical, non graphic, scientific RPN programmable calculator more powerful than the current 35S and possibly with the form factor of the 15C.
#16

What was the list price of the original HP-15C? With this figure we can compare prices, be more objective, and set emotions aside.

Namir


#17

I found the price of $135 on this web site!! Cool. So the higher price is not off if you account for inflation and the fact that the 15C LE is 100 times faster than the vintage version.


#18

Also from this site... HP 12C price at introduction: $150, now selling at $69.99 HP Site.

The logic escapes me.

Jeff Kearns

#19

If they had initially come out with the LE for the same $135 price as the original, we probably wouldn't have batted an eye at it. In the 70's, people were spending weeks of salary for an HP calculator. As a high-schooler, I just drooled on my TI as I looked over the quite-unaffordable HP calculators. But I must agree that listing the LE for $99, then seemingly arbitrarily jacking the price up to $179 is a real slap in the face. If they were wanting to insult their faithful devotees, that was an excellent start! Not hard to see why the WP34S project came into being.


#20

FYI, Pauli and me started the WP 34S project since

  1. HP did not offer any reliable scientific RPN calculator we liked for many years after the HP 42S, nor did they seem to listen to engineer's wishes (as expressed in this forum many times) anymore,
  2. HP launched a repurposable platform at low cost with the HP 20b, featuring just enough to look promising to us,
  3. (last not least) we enjoyed designing a scientific calculator and wanted to show them.
We did *not* do this for price reasons. If we'd have to ask you to pay for our time and development effort, a WP 34S would be a very expensive toy.

For the 15C LE, I've no idea about its startup costs. But as long as HP finds sufficient customers willing to lay down 179 US$ for it, they are free to set its price accordingly. As stated here before, we won't repurpose a 12C nor a 15C LE - too limited and outdated.


#21

I hear you Walter. when the HP-35s came out, I wrote a comprehensive stat pac for that machine (now available for free on my web site). HP did not offer any support or effort to promote it, or even mention it.

#22

Quote:
I found the price of $135 on this web site!! Cool. So the higher price is not off if you account for inflation and the fact that the 15C LE is 100 times faster than the vintage version.

I don't think comparing it to the 30 y/o original is really
how most consumers operate. Rather calibrate it to what $180
will get you for a competitive pocket calculator today. One particularly ironic comparison is the 30b right in HP's
backyard which is essentially the same system in an alternate
footprint and a slightly more
expensive lcd glass. Concerning
firmware the 15c le leveraged the 12c+ voyager emulator and the
original 15c's firmware, which I'd hazard was likely to be
no greater than the development burden of the 30b firmware.
The resulting street price for the 30b is around $18 which
presumably includes a sustainable profit.

IMHO the premise for the 15c le price increase is fundamentally
flawed, leveraging the misconception of the 15c le's value being
comparable to the legacy 15c. Eg, I'm reasonably certain
30 years from now no one will be signing petitions and banging
on the table with a "bring back the 15c le" campaign.
While I doubt the near double of list price will translate into
increased bottom line revenue for HP, I suspect it will delight
the ebay trolls who were formerly sitting on hoarded product
and facing dwindling sales to more quickly liquidate their
surplus.

[edited for clarity]

Edited: 1 Feb 2012, 4:49 p.m. after one or more responses were posted


#23

Quote:
I'm reasonably certain 30 years from now no one will be signing petitions and banging on the table with a "bring back the 15c le" campaign.

Inconceivable, I also believe.

But I have little doubt there will still be a "bring back the 42s" campaign...a request that future-HP will, no doubt, have fulfilled just as competently as they have since 1995.

I love the HP 30b concept. I'd love to see an enhanced non-emulated 42S with USB I/O, more RAM, real-time clock/calendar, and beeper all in the HP 30b package produced as a commercial HP product.

Edited: 1 Feb 2012, 3:10 p.m.


#24

Quote:
I love the HP 30b concept. I'd love to see an enhanced non-emulated 42S with USB I/O, more RAM, real-time clock/calendar, and beeper all in the HP 30b package produced as a commercial HP product.

You forgot to address the other fundamental limitation of the 30b: the screen.

With more RAM and a better screen we would have aimed for a 42S replacement not a 34C/15C/32sii.


- Pauli


#25

Given how far you guys have come with creating a calculator firmware that people would really want to use, I'm miffed that HP hasn't contacted you to ask what the specs on a new calc should be... At least if they did, you haven't said anything about it. I would love to see what amounts to a turbocharged 42s (though I do have a soft spot for the 32sii). And, yes, I count the limitations of the screen as one of the big warts of the 30b.


#26

I've not been contacted about anything like this, but if I had I imagine it would have been under a non-disclosure agreement.

I did once offer the 34S firmware to HP but received a negative response at the time. If HP does ever want the firmware, they know my email address :-)


- Pauli


#27

I've recently changed the license on one of the hardware specific files to something other then GPL. For a reason. :-)

#28

Quote:
I did once offer the 34S firmware to HP but received a negative response at the time. If HP does ever want the firmware, they know my email address :-)

I'd read that as HP not wanting to risk compromising their
closed IP codebase with GPL code and/or any external code
for that matter. The latter may well be boilerplate
policy. Introducing the former into their codebase may
be seen as even more risky given competitive differential
in this market is largely retained in a device's firmware.
Corresponding hardware design is off-the-shelf SoC centric with
little margin existing here for differential. So the motivation
to retain competitive IP within closed proprietary firmware
is likely substantial.

A more pessimistic interpretation would be of RPN as the dwindling
cash cow, where given the overall legacy investment in that
segment there is no reason to abandonon it [yet] assuming a low
maintenance revenue stream. Bringing in new technology however
would seem a low priority with such a business approach.

#29

From the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, $135 in 1982 is equivalent to $315 in 2011.

One would be foolish to send HP $180 dollars for the 15C-LE when for $150 they'll send you the 50g.

The 15C-LE is not, after all, equivalent to the original 15C. It's only an awkward imitation of old firmware emulated on modern cheap hardware. It has no logical reason for existence when something like the 50g is available at lower cost. (Yes...I've got two 15C-LE units...but they cost me each $75.)


Edited: 1 Feb 2012, 1:46 p.m.


#30

Quote:
(Yes...I've got two 15C-LE units...but they cost me each $75.)

Let me hazard a guess here. You pre-ordered two from CostCentral at $70.52 apiece plus $8 shipping ?


#31

No, it was buy.com. Ordered on-line at 1400 on 8 September and received at 1200 on 9 September (22 hours elapsed time!), using standard Fedex ground shipping! It turned out that the distribution point was just south of Memphis, only 170 miles away.

Edited: 1 Feb 2012, 2:16 p.m.


#32

Interesting. I bought one from Buy.com on the same day at about the same time as you did, however, the price was $78.99 with free shipping. I used a new customer $5 coupon to knock the price down to $73.99. Later that same day, the price jumped to $84.99. The one I pre-ordered from CostCentral.com cost me $80.52 plus $8 FEDEX shipping. I've since bought more for myself and on behalf of other people for more money, but still they all cost less than $99.99, including any sales tax I had to pay. They all were shipped for free.

Edited: 1 Feb 2012, 2:27 p.m.


#33

Yep...with coupon the price each was actually about $76.50. I just rounded to $75.

The thing that really really amazed me was delivery in less than one day. I've never experienced that anywhere anytime...even high-cost Amazon.com one-day shipping. I was not in a hurry to get them, so I wasn't interested in paying for expedited shipping.

I've heard that others have had to wait a bit longer. :-)

(It's too bad it really isn't worth a long wait.)

#34

The original price is irrelevant.

#35

Hi really don't understand all the whinging here, did you want the 15c to come back or not ? There was a huge petition to bring the 15c back, I think we are lucky HP responded. They are still a business are they not ? are they not entitled to make a profit ? If you don't like the price, then don't buy it !!

I bought 2 x 15C LE, and I don't even remember or care what I paid, just glad to see them.

What do you lot want, HP to reproduce every model from 1972 onwards for $10 each ? I wish the LE production run was limited to 100 units

Suck it up I say, or shut up. Awaiting barrage of criticism.....

john


#36

Brilliant post, mate !

#37

I have to agree with John.

YES, it sucks that the price went up. If indeed it went up purposefully, as opposed to just being another of the (zillions of) mistakes that they've made. Shame on them.

However, WE all wanted it back. We begged for it. We signed petitions. We used these hallowed forums to dream about seeing the 15c (and others) come back from the dead. And what did the caring, honest folks at HP do? They listened, and they provided the 15CLE for us. Bless them.

It wasn't perfect, and it still isn't. But it's what we asked for. Just be thankful they didn't originally price this unit at $180. You know you would have bought one regardless. So some of us got it for less -- our win.

Personally, I'm getting really tired of all the HP bashing.

That's just MY $0.02.

thanks,
bruce

#38

Actually, if HP did go back and reproduce all the models from the 70's onward, this geeky group (me included) would probably buy them all up, even at $100 or more each. Can you imagine the buzz? We're a bunch of fanatics. Tons 'o fun!

#39

Quote:
Suck it up I say, or shut up. Awaiting barrage of criticism.....

It may be helpful to keep the context in mind vs. the literal
dialogue alone.

I don't believe the critical commentary here is intended to
wound HP but rather honest, passionate marketing feedback from
a zealous audience uniquely qualified to do so. IOW folks
here care about what HP is producing because
they want to buy more HP product. Were I in
HP marketing shoes I'd welcome such valuable feedback, which
is otherwise obtained at substantial effort and cost to the
vendor. But admittedly separating the useful content from the
associated delivery style may at times require a thick skin.


#40

Well said!


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