OK, look, not one every starts out to create a dud. There’s a saying in the theatre biz that no company starts out to do a bad show. But bad shows happen. Bad products and bad receptions of products happen all the time. It’s a fact of life. So, why am I calling for HP to refund all TouchPad owners?
Well, let’s see. It’s August 18th. The TouchPad semi-officially launched on July 1. (That semi preface is how HP put it when it promised a big roll out a few weeks later.) We’re talking seven and half weeks on the market. During that time HP promoted (not well) and promised updates, support, service, and even wooed early adopters who felt they got the shaft when the prices dropped with a $50 credit on its App Store. So, while you can bet that HP was sweating bullets over both its not-ready-for prime time hardware, poor reviews of same, and its own marketing mishaps, it was also thinking ahead to this possible conclusion. Which calls the entire acquisition of Palm into question in the first place.
But back to the refund thing. Let’s take HP at its word that the real launch wasn’t until July 18th. That cuts the seven and one half weeks down to four and a half. Let’s take Best Buy at its word when it says it couldn’t move the TouchPad even with steep discounts. So, there couldn’t be that many of them out there. HP knew it had a lemon on its hands from the get go. As much as I have like experimenting with the TouchPad I still say that it is a Beta product. So, I think HP ought to own up to its mistakes or missteps here and return the money for those of us who participated in that Beta program, now that the product seems to have failed in that testing. Unfortunately they probably didn’t make enough money to cover the cost of the accounting on the whole affair.