Huge discounts lead to sales rush for discontinued tablet
PC maker Hewlett-Packard (HP) has termed the overwhelming demand for its discontinued tablet device TouchPad as "bittersweet" after the company slashed the prices by nearly 80% or $400.
The Palo Alto, California-based company witnessed a "clamouring" for its TouchPad models after the company slashed the price of its 16GB model to $99.99 from $499.99 and its 32GB model to $149.99 from $599.
Retailers also cut the cost of the TouchPad here in the UK. The 16GB version was being sold for £89 and the 32GB version was being offered at £115 by Dixons, Currys and PC World. Supplies had run out within hours of the discount being advertised. Amazon has also cuts its price, although not as heavily as other retailers.
The TouchPads sold out in stores across the US and Canada quickly with customers saying they would buy more than one device. HP has said that it would supply more devices on its own online store, until the stocks run out.
HP spokeswoman Bryna Corcoran said on Twitter: "Regarding ‘next batch’ coming in.. it’s called a warehouse." Corcoran added: "No more being made, but have inventory coming from ones already manufactured." Corcoran claimed she was unaware of how many TouchPads were on the way.
The company has placed online customers on a wait list, and they will be sold the devices on a first come, first serve basis she said.
"All this clamoring for the TouchPad, kind of bittersweet," Corcoran said.
HP had launched its TouchPad in July, but apparently succumbed to the intense competition with market leader Apple and other companies such as Samsung which run on Google’s Android platform. At the launch, HP priced the 16GB model at $499.99, and the 32GB model for $599.99. Last week, the company slashed the prices of its TouchPads in a "permanent" price revision by $100.
In March, Apple had slashed the price of its Wi-Fi iPad2 from $429 to $399.
HP last week announced that it would spin off the PC business. HP boss Léo Apotheker, who joined last year after Mark Hurd was forced to step down, said he wanted the company to focus more on software and services rather than the relatively low value PC market, where it has been losing out to the likes of Apple.
When CBR profiled HP last year following the Hurd scandal it was suggested by Gartner analyst Martin Reynolds that spinning out its PC division was one possible option for HP. "The company has two directions it can go in," Reynolds told CBR. "It can either continue its strategy of improving efficiency and selling products at decreasing prices to increasing numbers of people, or it can rapidly change direction," he told us.
"Maybe it needs to think seriously about whether it makes sense to remain a massive conglomerate," Reynolds added.
The move echoes steps taken by rival IBM, when it sold its PC business to Chinese firm Lenovo back in 2004 to focus on becoming a services-oriented company.