I have zero marketing experience and this is just me thinking (typing?) out loud. What if HP saw the lackluster success of the Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Blackberry Playbook, and their own HP webOS Tablet in comparison to Apple’s iPad runaway success and saw a brilliant but unorthodox opportunity.
Weathering the storm with the HP webOS tablet like all every other iPad competitor was going to cost them a lot time, money, and resources. The fight in the tablet market for 2nd place in is just as hard (if not harder) then the fight for 1st with none of the perks since the market share for the #2 spot is so drastically small compared to the #1 spot. What if HP could take a relatively small hit money wise (compared to sticking with the device over the next 6 to 12 months) by liquidating the current stock at a bargain price to create an “Apple-like” hysteria for the product. The plan works and suddenly everyone wants one and HP gets their entire stock of tablets into the hands of the consumer, which is unheard of for any company in the tablet market that isn’t Apple. Over the course of a few days the market penetration of webOS increases exponentially.
Now here comes the risky pay off, what if people actually like webOS? What if this creates a demand in the market for more webOS devices? HP still owns the rights to webOS, so does it:
- Sell the rights to webOS to hopefully break even, banking on the recent explosive user adoption will make it attractive to hardware manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, LG, etc? All of whom in light of Motorola/Google and Microsoft/Nokia deal are probably worried about their current ability to successfully sell Android and (to a lesser extent) Windows Phone 7 devices?
- Retain the right and then license it out to these same manufactures in hopes of turning webOS profitable?
- Sit on the rights and then release the “HP webOS tablet 2” next year? Hoping that the new-found popularity will give them an easy 2nd place win in the tablet market if they can keep a sub $200 price point?
Hopefully in the next few months we’ll see how this plays out. At the very least this gives Amazon, with their forth coming tablet, some valuable insight into how to create an insatiable demand for your product.