BrandTech’s Lemon Award goes this month to HP for its failed attempt to get in (and stay in) the tablet market. Obviously, HP should have understood the competition, but they felt their distribution channels and product features would enable them to get a fair shot at a decent market share that would enable them to stay in the tablet market. They were wrong.
They were right, however, about deciding to exit early. With nearly 100 different tablet products on the market, HP and others knew they had to compete with Apple’s iPad, which quickly earned 80% market share … and has remained near that dominating presence ever since it launched iPad in 2010. Even after the post iPad2 launch, there have been others wiling to get up to bat against Apple. They have done little to crack Apple’s now 78% market share (global), although the Chinese are buying competitor tablets. But China is a market where ‘brand power’ is everything, too – they love to have what is popular, and we suspect that Apple’s market share will rise with iPad3, reportedly to come out either just before New Year’s Eve or shortly thereafter (thinner, lighter, etc.).
The Lemon Award probably should have an asterisk next to it, because HP had the guts to pull the plug early. But what is so embarrassing is that the world’s largest computer producer miscalculated so badly to think it really had a chance with Palm’s WebOS application.
Did they not understand why Apple is so strong in this market? Did they honestly believe they had the guns (and ammo) to overcome Apple’s bigger-than-life brand advantage? Obviously they didn’t figure it until it was too late, too costly, and well, too embarrassing. Along with HP’s debacle with their WebOS-based smartphone, HP is not looking like the smarter person in the room anymore. They have announced they are still selling the TouchPads (from those already in the pipeline) but are not making any promises on future deliveries. Would you?
Consumers love their downfall, however. Target, Best Buy, Walmart all quickly sold out the $499 tablets that were on sale for $99 – all buyers knew there would be NO support, NO future products, and very little in terms of Apps that would be designed just for the HP TouchPad. One consumer mumbled as he walked out of Best Buy … “it’s a fun toy to have around. For $99, why not?”
That’s our opinion – ones person’s lemon is another’s lemonade! – RJL
- Are buyers of the now defunct HP TouchPad a little “touched”? (mississippigeek.wordpress.com)
- HP’s $99 fire sale on discontinued TouchPad sells out (usatoday.com)
- What TouchPad’s Fate Says About the Tablet Market (businessweek.com)
- HP TouchPad: What owners need to know (news.consumerreports.org)
- HP single-handedly destroys non-iPad tablet market (zdnet.com)