How much control does the product creator has over his own product? Can the product owner stop the sale of his own product on a platform which he doesn’t approve of?
Answers of these questions would be soon open, as we are witnessing first such product-platform war within the ecommerce and gadgets niche; and three principle players in this battle are: OnePlus, Amazon and Flipkart.
Story So Far..
OnePlus 3, the latest smartphone from OnePlus was launched six months ago. In November, owing to increased buzz, OnePlus decided to replace it with OnePlus 3T, and offer exclusively on Amazon India.
Right now, it is available for Rs 29,990 and no other ecommerce portal except Amazon is selling it.
So far so good.
Enter Flipkart & Their ‘Big Shopping Day’ Sales
Flipkart is conducting yet another festive sales extravaganza called ‘Big Shopping Days’ between December 18th to December 21st.
In order to promote their special sales days, they have put banners on their home page, announcing the sale of OnePlus 3 smartphones. Instead of clearly showing the price of the handset, they have written: 1_,999. Now, even if we assume that the price would be 19,999 on Flipkart, it shall be a flat discount of Rs 10000 from the current price on Amazon.
And, OnePlus has no exclusive contract with Flipkart for OnePlus!
OnePlus CEO Is Confused
When OnePlus CEO Carl Pei saw this banner, he was confused just like us. He tweeted to Sachin Bansal, co-founder of Flipkart: “.@_sachinbansal brother, what’s this? We’re exclusive with @amazonIN”
— Carl Pei (@getpeid) December 16, 2016
It is thus, clearly visible that even OnePlus CEO is not sure how Flipkart is selling a Rs 29,990 product for at a discount of Rs 10,000, that too without any exclusive contract.
OnePlus Fans Are Outraged
The main issue is not breach of exclusivity, but the massive price drop. As evident from several tweets, those who have already bought OnePlus 3 for Rs 29,900 are upset that Flipkart is now selling the same for Rs 19,999.
One user even pointed out the fact that Flipkart’s version of OnePlus 3 is showing SD Slot, while the actual one doesn’t have that.
Carl has strongly stated that his company will ensure that no other platform can sell their products at a reduce price, and that he will never betray his customers.
His tweet said: “This is the problem. For premium brands, trust is everything. We would never betray trust by dropping prices like this.”
Official Statement from OnePlus India
OnePlus immediately released an official statement in this regards, “OnePlus is focused on creating premium flagship smartphones. We have an exclusive partnership with Amazon in India. We advice customers to purchase OnePlus products only through official channels as we cannot guarantee the authenticity of the products sold elsewhere.”
What Exactly Can Happen Now?
Considering the fact that OnePlus has no official, exclusive contract with Flipkart, it is clear that it is only Amazon where OnePlus 3 would be available.
However, in case Flipkart decided to buy OnePlus 3 at Rs 29,900, and then sell the same for Rs 19,999, there is very little which OnePlus can do.
Surely it can be termed as a vicious business move to poach over a popular, hot-selling product, but legally speaking, OnePlus can’t do much here.
Maybe they can approach court and ask for a stay on Flipkart’s sale of OnePlus 3, based on anti-business practices. In case they, it would be really interesting to see how our Constitution responds to this plea.
We will keep you updated as more details come in.."Flipkart’s Ad For Discounted OnePlus 3 Price Confuses OnePlus CEO Carl Pei; Says Exclusive Partnership Only With Amazon",