|Coburlin's tactics are not unique|
Message #11 Posted by Hugh Evans on 25 Apr 2005, 4:37 p.m.,
in response to message #2 by Unipalmer
Please accept my appologies in advance for the rant below:
Based on all that I've read about Coburlin, he sounds to me like an... Antiques dealer! Yes, even a 48GX produced 3 years ago qualifies as an antique because it is no longer in production and is valued due to its' attributes.
Most antique shops seem to do well for themselves (ie they stay in business longer than crystal pepsi was produced). If you've ever watched antiques roadshow on PBS you have already seen why the business model is successful: Sellers who don't know what they have let items go for a fraction of their market value, the buyer can put it in their store or auction it and make a killing.
Coburlin seems to have become something of a scapegoat around here, but there are hundreds of people selling old calculators on ebay and using similar tactics. Contacting sellers and offering to pay far less than market value is something that anyone can do.
Little can be done to lower the market price. Good reissues actually can, and have, done this in the past. If HP decided to reissue the 15c and put in enough effort to make it indistinguishable from original units (if given a fresh reissue and a NOS machine from 1982 you could not tell a difference) the original machines would drop in price almost overnight. However, the chances of HP doing this are slim.
I think this also lends some insight into why OpenRPN was created. The 32sii tripled in price after retail supplies dried up, and in the worst case scenario it cost HP a small fraction of retail to produce it. A community based effort would eliminate almost all development costs, meaning profit margins could be razor thin and end users would actually get what they pay for (which is a lot more than they would expect).
Hopefully I've clarified what people are witnessing on ebay and elsewhere. Dealing in antiques can get somewhat sleazy and even ethically questionable, but these practices are widespread. I'm not endorsing or condemning anyone's business practices, just stating the facts.
If you have experience in embedded hardware/software design, industrial/mechanical design of consumer electronics, enjoy nothing more than writing in wiki-markup, or have some skill that might be tangentially related to designing and producing calculators please join in part of the solution to paying high prices for quality handheld calculators!