HP says weak pound won't force a price hike - yet

Lets Dell battle alone against sagging sterling

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Hewlett-Packard has no plans to jack up its UK price list despite the pound’s weak performance against the US dollar, which has already forced Dell to hike its prices.

We asked HP whether it would respond to Dell’s decision to up its EMEA prices by making a similar move. “It is HP company policy to not comment on competitor activity,” the world’s number one computer vendor said in a terse statement to The Register.

But, it continued, “HP can confirm that at this current time there are no plans to increase its prices in response to the weak pound.”

Last week Dell confirmed to us that the vendor had no choice but to increase prices in the face of a strong US dollar versus the euro, sterling and other currencies in the EMEA region.

We approached Dell about the price increase after hearing claims from several customers that UK prices had shot up by between 15 and 20 per cent in the past month. However, when questioned, Dell declined to provide us with precise figures.

Since our report customers in the US have also been claiming that Dell goods have been getting pricier.

“I buy a lot of Dell equipment for companies in the US. I used to work for Dell as an account manager so I pay attention to pricing,” wrote one Reg reader.

“Dell has also increased pricing to the US from December 2008 to January 2009. It isn't just the EMEA prices that have increased,” she claimed.

But Dell is not the only hardware vendor to have recently revised up its price list in the face of a weak pound.

Domino effect?

Nikon confirmed last month that price rises in Australia had been applied to most of the firm's product line.

The camera maker already announced a price hike in Canada last November and rumours continue to abound claiming that UK prices are set to follow suit imminently.

Speaker manufacturer Audioengine confirmed today that it too was increasing prices in the UK from 1 March.

"The direct cause of the increase is the dramatic and sustained decrease in the value of the pound," explained company director Jon Stanton.

Last summer several US software vendors, including Citrix, VMware and Oracle, jacked up their price lists in Europe and blamed the then weak dollar for the hike.

In November VMware cancelled out the 10 per cent price increase it had applied to its virtualisation products thanks to what it described as a more favourable exchange rate in the European and Asian markets.

Meanwhile, Sage, which is the UK's biggest software maker, said today that the weak pound had in fact helped offset a subdued market for its products.

So what’s your experience? Have you seen price increases added to hardware kit you purchased from big name tech firms over the past few months? And what are account managers telling you about the reasons behind the price fluctuations currently flooding the market? ®


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