Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/07/23

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Hasselblad XPAN
From: Andre Jean Quintal <>
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 1998 07:25:56 -0400

>> Jim Brick wrote:
>> >
>> > This indeed could be a great camera.
>> Do you really think so?  I'm having a hard time figuring
>> out who the intended market is.

	I've been trying to understand the situation better.
	Here are a few thoughts.

	1/ Hasselblad is, we agree, mostly a medium format

	2/ Fuji is ALSO a medium format provider,
		and FUJI users will NOT switch to Hasselblad
		lately, especially those using the "690" models,
		odd as it me feel to Hasselblad users.
		Hasselblad obviously knows the market.

	3/ Fuji can produce good stuff cheaper than Hasselblad does.
		Perhaps, some would argue, not as collectible as
		BUT: is it as usable ?

	4/ To my mind, it seems to be an experiment at getting
		Fuji and Hasselblad people to work together
		on a given industrial / marketing project,
		while catering to demands from major resellers
		in the world-wide Hasselblad network
		for "line extension" profit items.

	5/ The camera, to no Leica people, stands on its own.
		In no way whatsoever does it have to compete
		with Leica products !
		That's NOT a primary focus of "the exercise"
		which is, to a corporate executive level person,
		justified as long as it pays for itself
		and meets the other non-public targets
		of "the exercise".

	6/ This is only a 35mm rangefinder which to HUGE
		FUJI is a needle in the haystack,
		but it may also (it has to, otherwise the
		product we see would not be there)
		provide FUJI with "interesting"
		and worth-while objectives to be met
		that we may never become aware of
		in a million years, and simply don't need to
		as consumers.

		But, would there be, 3 years down the road,
		an Hasselblad / Fuji pro "minilab",
		done to "provide" pros with an "acceptable" automated lab,
		there's an altogether more significant
		business / industrial / marketing / sales proposition.

		I remain convinced that "the product"
		is not the ultimate purpose of "the exercise",
		in general corporate context.

	7/ In sales transactions context, it may be one of those
		"X" items used to actually sell "Z" items,
		just as long as it justifies itself in the
		reseller's inventory.
		In no way does it have to be a "mover and shaker"
		if you factor in the overall costs of doing business
		with Hasselblad.

		Though most LUGers are pro-Leica M aficionados,
		justified on it's own, it remains that there
		are some Leica models which, to a given reseller,
		are weak business performers,
		would it be on their market appeal
		or for some "in house" reason, say, for instance,
		a dominant salesperson that totally wild about
		some N... model and lays the N... trip on everybody
		in the shop when there are no customers around.
		Such is a fact of life in sales context.
		I'm using N... just as a probable scenario.

		Product knowledge, training, qualified reps,
		a well catered customer base can't hurt a
		product such as Leica. but it has to be SOLD
		at one point, for ANY number of reasons
		and motivations.

		Salesforces are beasts that have to be fed
		VERY regularly: at ALL levels of consumer society!

	8/ The Hasselblad XPAN is an odd 35mm market entry
		if you see it from the average consumer
		but the question will not be if it's better
		than a Leica. Sales people loose their jobs
		playing such games.

		The question will be: is it a worthwhile expense?
		What are the pros and cons ?

		Considering there's THAT Leica M
		sitting there, looking at you, in the
		same sales transactions situation,
		will play quite interesting mind games
		but all that ever will count
		is do Hasselblad and Fuji make or loose
		money over "the item" ?
		Same for the resellers, ... world-wide !

		The World financial situation, currently,
		is MOST sensitive. Asian markets may be thrown
		out of Leica's "reach" simply by the currencies'
		devaluation, even Japan's, a most unthinkable
		FACT less than 6 months ago !

		The ACCEPTANCE of the Hasselblad XPAN
		remains to be seen, street level.

		Yet, the real question is:
		What ELSE is there in the works from
		a cooperation such as Hasselblad / Fuji teaming up ?
		That becomes far more exiting.
		Or it may just fade away after 3, 5, 10 "production runs"
		of "the item". We will see.

		Andre Jean Quintal