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Fifty years ago, stero system manufacturer "Tandberg" had managed to build a super-HiFi image in the USA. (Back home in Norway, that's what you'd find in everybody's home, it was a household brand). Tandberg did significant experimentation in the US market: In areas where they set the recommended retail price way up, and selling only through selected stores, they won a reputation as the connoisseur brand, really high class. In other areas, where they sold at "normal" prices, they still had a (well deserved) "good" reputation, but not much more. Tandberg was not a widely known brand in the US, so they had the opportunity to try out alternatives and compare the effects of various measures wiht few discovering it.
Today, it is standard practice in some sectors (sterophile stuff being one of them) setting extreme prices to give the impression that this someting super exclusive, super valuable - it must be! Why would it otherwise be that expensive?
Fifty years ago, Tandberg certainly was not alone in testing out such strategies, but they were early on the scene, and communication was so slow that they could test out alternatives. Today's crazy pricing strategies are based on the experience that Tandberg and others built up during the 1970s. The customers did not build up a similar sensitivity to (and rejection of) those strategies though - they still work!
Sure, but without attacking your major premise, Tandberg did also provide products of high quality. In 1988 I bought a Tandberg TCA 3018A pre-amp to drive my pair of Mark Levenson power amps, and it still works to perfection today. I have, from time to time, substituted other top-end pre-amps, but have always come back to the Tandberg.
I suggest that their high price in the US (where, incidentally, I bought mine) was due to an evaluation of their competitive quality, and the import tariff levied at that time on audio components.
@Mark_Wallace - Do you mean you don't think Apple products will last for for 32 years?
If something has a solution... Why do we have to worry about?. If it has no solution... For what reason do we have to worry about?
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