|Re: The HP-10C and the Edsel|
Message #6 Posted by Karl Schneider on 9 Sept 2007, 3:52 a.m.,
in response to message #5 by Eric Smith
The example you cite is so anecdotal as to be completely irrelevant.
What the heck does that mean?? An anecdote is the true story of one particular experience. No claim can be made of its representing the whole truth, or even what is generally true, but it's one piece of evidence -- it is what it is.
I saw multiple stores that had many HP-33C, HP-34C, and HP-38C units in stock for YEARS after those were discontinued, but I certainly don't conclude that those models didn't sell well.
Here's another anecdote: In late 1983, I visited the college bookstore with the specific intent to purchase an HP-34C, which I had seen several years prior, but had been discontinued in January. The young salesman instead steered me toward the HP-15C, which had been out for a year, but was new to me. I tested both side-by-side, and bought the HP-15C.
So, this bookstore kept discontinued models in stock even after the newer, better replacements with modern technology (read: charger-free LCD) were available. If the old stock didn't sell well, there was a reason for that.
Obsolescence was not the issue with the HP-10C; its fancier siblings remained in production for five years or more after it was discontinued.
On the one hand you complain that the 10C should have had the programming and features of the 11C and 15C, and on the other you seem to be conceding that the product differentiation should be the programmability and functions, nor do I see any way in which having NO programming features (which you seem to advocate) would be better than having limited programming features.
It really sounds like you wanted an 11C for the price of the 10C, and are complaining because you have to pay more to get the 11C. Sorry, that's just the way the world works, and HP was in no way unique in doing that.
Please don't put inconsistent nonsense and claptrap in my mouth when my statements were clear and unwavering, over time on several occasions: The HP-10C would have been better as a non-programmable with the missing transcedental math and data-entry functions restored (hyperbolics, delta-%, gamma, backarrow, and roll-up). Non-programmability would provide clear differentiation in functionality, especially against the HP-15C and its advanced functions. (I wonder how many buyers opted for the cheaper HP-10C instead of the HP-11C/15C, because they were told that it was "programmable".)
I make no claim that my version of the HP-10C would have sold well enough and not cannibalized HP-11C/15C sales to stay in the product line. Perhaps, although the idea was reasonable -- a "low-end" quality-made Voyager scientific -- it was destined not to succeed because its competitors were so much cheaper, and its target market less discerning. Still, I believe that my concept would have been more sound: a functionally-complete nonprogrammable instead of a pidgin programmable that lacked a few important basics.
Ford didn't seem to have a clue as to what their market was, or how to address it. They made the car that one of the executives wanted, without regard to what the public wanted, and it sold poorly. It was NOT designed the way it was for product positioning purposes to fill a gap in their product line.
Is this what you inferred from the article? It's not what I understood. The Edsel was the brainchild of which executive? All I saw was a reference to the naming suggestion by Ernest Breech, Ford's chairman of the board.
From the article:
The idea for the Edsel came from Ford executives who were thinking about market niches when they should have been thinking about cars.
They were worried that Ford owners who prospered in the postwar boom were trading in their cheap Fords for pricier Pontiacs and Buicks. They figured Ford needed a new line of medium-price cars..
There you have it.
It seems to me that the Edsel line would have been more successful (or at least less unsuccessful) if it had been designed with more emphasis on engineering and manufacturing, and less marketing hype and styling gimmicks, and, of course, a more-pleasing name. If Ford set out to claim the mid-range market, they should simply have made a better mid-range Ford. Execution, not concept, was the problem.
I've never heard any legitimate criticisms of the 10C that aren't related to deliberate product positioning. It appears to me that HP's marketing people knew EXACTLY what they were doing.
I can't believe that the plan was to go to the trouble of creating a new model, then kill it after only 18 months. Once again, my criticisms of the HP-10C were of execution, not of concept and product placement.