HP’s Eric Cador said in an interview this week:
“In the PC world, with fewer ways of differentiating HP’s products from our competitors, we became number one; in the tablet world we’re going to become better than number one. We call it number one plus.”
If you’re going to trash talk your competition, you may want to start competing with them first. At least, that’s what common sense should tell you. HP is not the only company that has been guilty of this recently. Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer trash talked the iPhone in 2007 when it was released, claiming that it had no chance whatsoever of gaining any significant market share. It’s kind of hilarious how history has proved him to be absolutely wrong.
Many companies use marketing propaganda whenever they speak publicly, but when you state specifics about a product before it’s released, that’s considered quantifiable marketing propaganda. And when something is quantifiable, it can be measured. When something can be measured, you can be proven wrong. When companies release statements like this, they’re typically proven wrong almost instantly by the press, and mocked by everyone else. This is just a very unwise thing for HP to have said.
The iPad isn’t just at the front of the pack in the tablet market. It is the tablet market. And all the statistics resound that message loudly and clearly. There is not a significant competitor that can hold a torch to the iPad’s success right now, and HP is claiming that they can beat the iPad on their first try — a claim so far from likely that it’s laughable.
Not only is the iPad leading the pack in the tablet industry, it’s actually eating away at the PC industry as well. Best Buy reported last quarter that sales of PC laptops had dropped by over 50% since the iPad’s release, with iPad sales far surpassing all industry analyst expectations. The Motorola Xoom has sold a total of over a quarter of a million units since it’s release, which is pretty impressive, until you compare it to the over 45 million iPads Apple is expected to sell this year alone, or the fact that Apple sold more iPads than that on the iPad 2’s release day alone.
We would absolutely love to see a credible competitor to the iPad, and the HP TouchPad looks like it will be a fantastic product — one that may even be reasonably good competition for the iPad. Competition is great for the industry, and it drives progress forward. It just does not make sense to make such flamboyant claims about a product months before its scheduled release, and expect to be taken seriously. HP would be wise to focus more on making the TouchPad a great product, and to focus less on mocking their fiercest competitor. And just in case Eric Cador is bad at math, number 1 plus one equals number 2.