Over the past few hours palmOne compounded the damage already done (releasing the Treo 650 with a poor memory configuration, weak and neutered Bluetooth radio, missing WiFi…the list goes on) by raising the price of the unlocked Treo 650 by $100.
palmOne is citing a pricing error, but that factual misrepresentation is extremely transparent. You don’t launch the most critical and profitable product your company makes into a market that’s ready to buy, with the wrong price. palmOne isn’t P&G, they don’t have thousands of products in the market, they’re in the single digits for crying out loud.
The most likely scenario is that Cingular was upset that many were buying the unlocked Treo 650 with the intention of using it on a competing network, like T-Mobile. TMo doesn’t appear interested in carrying the Treo 650, but their GSM network supports it if buyers of an unlocked 650 insert their SIM card. So what’s been good for Cingular in the past is now a problem since they’re on the other side of the fence.
More devious theories point to the fact that sales were so good the first few days that palmOne wanted to squeeze an extra $100 out of buyers. Given their tanking stock price, who knows. If Krispy Kreme double counts doughnut shipments to show rising profit, why wouldn’t a company use a legal way of capitalizing on high demand if they can? If we’ve learned anything from Corporate America it’s that stock price is king, especially when you have to take a $2.4 million accounting charge for your exiting CEO’s golden parachute.
No matter the reason, what’s done is done and palmOne has further trashed their brand as a result. The only good news is they will honor already placed orders at the “mistaken price.”