Announced recently on their site and through an email blitz, HP proudly proclaimed they’re “listening to the consumer” and offering up systems running Microsoft’s last popular OS. It’s a desperate move from a company which has been struggling recently to adapt to a post-PC market. The parallels with Blackberry here are astounding. As BB was caught unprepared for consumers buying pretty smartphones, HP hasn’t been able to figure out their offerings in a world where iPads exist.
Pandering to a media narrative which is all too ready to baselessly criticize Windows 8, HP seems to be banking on the technology “hater” market to pull them out of their slump. You know, that group of people who rail against change and spend TONS of money on things like old laptops. That last sentence was sarcasm by the way. Regardless, I’m sure this will prove a winning strategy for the beleaguered tech firm (also sarcasm).
Here’s the fault in their logic. With all the haterade being dumped on Windows 8, You’d think every manufacturer would be in trouble. As a whole the entire industry is down 15-20% depending on who you ask to track the sales. Unfortunately for those taking glee in Microsoft’s stumble, companies like Asus and Lenovo exist, and both are actually improving their sales during this transition which is unprecedented. Built on the backs of innovative and creative design, Lenovo profits over the 2012/13 fiscal year were up almost 18% over the 2011/12 fiscal year. Embracing Windows 8, and providing consumers innovative products at competitive prices, seems to have worked for Lenovo.
The other major problem with HP’s reasoning is Apple. Apple hasn’t released a new OS in a while, and sales of their laptops and desktops are ALSO down around 15% over this last fiscal year. Could it be? Did Windows 8 also wreck Apple sales? Is it THAT bad? Or could it be that people are buying things like tablets instead of laptops for their media consumption needs? Could the ENTIRE industry be shifting how we consume digital stuff? Regardless of how you feel about Windows 8, I think it’s fair to say that consumers are changing their habits.
And this is bad news for HP, as over the last several years, they’ve shown little aptitude for adapting and evolving. From their failed experiment with Palm and webOS, to their flirtation with Android devices, now to rolling back the clock on Windows 7. This is a company flailing, and their customers can smell it. We want stability. We want to know the products we invest in will be supported, will be updated, and there will be a newer model to buy when we want to replace it. Every time HP juggles a product or OS, they show us they can’t commit, and that our money would be better spent elsewhere. We want to do business with a company on a solid foundation, looking forward, ready to push boundaries and deliver exciting new things.
HP is becoming the tech equivalent of that kid we know who peaked in high school, and years later still hangs around the pep rallies hoping to hook up with a new crop of cheerleaders. You have fond memories of that kid because he was fun to hang out with back in the day, but now it’s turned into something sad.
Windows 8 might have some issues, but it’s not responsible for HP’s lackluster sales…