Category Archives: Cost
Aug 3, 2016 12:00:00 PM
Over the last 30 days, third-party imaging equipment and service providers around the world have received copies of a letter from GE Healthcare notifying them of an unprecedented move to restrict sellers from including “non-base” software options with the sale of a previously-owned GE imaging system.
What the Letter Says
The core premise of this move is summed up in the letter as follows:
“Please be aware, unless otherwise explicitly stated by GE Healthcare in writing, software that is not part of the equipment’s base system standard operating software is non-transferable and only the original equipment purchaser has a non-exclusive, limited license to use such software.”
Who It Affects
At first glance, this move seems to be aimed at restricting competition within the refurbished equipment space- certainly an understandable goal as GE looks to grow equipment and service market share.
Far beyond independent refurbishment providers and their ability to provide useful software options in an economically feasible manner, however, there are several other parties who will be deeply impacted by this seismic shift:
- Everyone who owns a GE system: Whether a hospital, imaging center, or ISO, the inability to sell (or trade-in) equipment with “non-base” software options decreases equipment resale values significantly and immediately.
- Finance institutions: For banks holding the paper on a capital or operating lease, the residual value of those agreements just dropped in noteworthy fashion.
- GE customers: The equipment being purchased today will include software that is non-salable or transferable.
- Patients: If a facility has purchased a system with ASIR, GE’s radition dose reduction technology, from a refurbished service provider and was unable to afford the $100,000+ option, the option would need to be deleted from the system and patients would begin receiving significantly higher radiation doses on a system that was once fully equipped to reduce dosage.
While it’s evident there are some less-than-desirable outcomes for quite a few stakeholders within the GE imaging space, it’s important to ask, “Who wins?”
- GE: For customers who only buy GE equipment, the opportunity is certainly present to capitalize on the sale of new equipment. There is a strong chance as well that GE will see a big short-term gain for sale of software to customers that need to replace options that have been removed. The GE Goldseal Refurbisment program will also be able to buy back equipment at greatly-reduced values.
- Siemens, Philips, and Toshiba: One has to imagine that carrying such a letter into a competitive sales situation demonstrating the reduced resale value of a GE system would provide a pretty meaningful benefit.
There’s no question that software has proprietary elements and that the investment and creativity involved with imaging applications are to be applauded and compensated. That being said, in this time and marketplace, this move is certainly a head turner, especially given the significant price already paid for the intellectual property by the initial purchaser.
Block Imaging looks forward to attending the IAMERS European meeting to hear more from GE on the intent and immediate implications of this action. Furthermore, we look forward to hearing and providing additional information to bring more clarity on this matter to the imaging industry and customers around the world.
Written by Josh Block
Josh Block is the President of Block Imaging. He is also a husband, father of two, triathlete and self-proclaimed waffle chef. Josh strives to live out his passion for people by investing in and aligning the Block Imaging team to deliver a noteworthy customer experience and impact lives around the world through providing outstanding refurbished equipment, service, and parts.
Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is ‘planned obsolescence’
Tech website iFixit found that Apple had ensured that the technology would eventually fall out of use, forcing customers to buy new products
Saturday 25 April 2015
CEO Kyle Wiens has always been a vocal critic of Apple’s obstructive policies on third parties fixing and upgrading iOS devices and his company provide an online “free repair guide for everything” where methods to repair or improve electronic devices are posted.
Upon the release of the Apple Watch, Wiens’ company immediately got down to the business of (iBuffs look away now) tearing the brand new product open and evaluating it from the inside.
Their prying work has discovered that the “overall device construction limits further repair options”.
“The S1 SiP [internal system in package] is encased in resin, and is further held in place by a mess of glue and soldered ribbon connectors. In short, basic component replacements look nearly impossible.”
The s1SiP is custom-designed Apple technology that integrates a number of subsystems like the chip into one package. It is encased in resin to increase its durability.
Therefore, according to iFixit, the Apple Watch has intentional obsolescence built into it as it will become technologically redundant as processors become faster and apps are supported only by the newest models.
This tactic is known as ‘planned obsolescence’ and has been an accusation levelled at Apple for a number of years.
The current operating system for iPhones, for example, only supports some of the newer models and it appears that the Apple Watch will find itself in a similar position.
This revelation may trouble users, who will have paid £479 for the standard model or even up to £9,500 if they bought the 18-Carat Rose Gold Case edition.
The exploratory work by iFixit revealed that the device includes a 2-5mAh battery, compared to a 300mAh battery found in competing devices, like the Motorola Moto 360 and Samsung Gear Live. The device also includes an ARM Cortex mj3-based touchscreen controller.
The research also interestingly found that, although Apple has promoted the device’s heart rate monitoring feature, it is actually bundled with a plethysmograph that could act as a pulse oximeter. This could allow users to measure their own blood oxygen levels.
Apple has never commented on claims that this is policy that they pursue.
I recently was sent a letter from Ortho Clinical Diagnostics by a friend in a hospital. I publish it below, with my highlighting. It is a glaring example of how a company can use obscenely high charges to pressure customers into signing a service contract. I’ve had problems with Ortho’s customer service and pricing for many years. I guess they haven’t changed.
To summarize, they say in the first sentence that the purpose of this letter is to encourage customers into signing contracts.They profess LIMITED TECHNICAL SUPPORT over the phone, but even that is at prevailing labor rates – up to $1,580 per hour, with a 2 hour minimum. So a 10 minute phone call is going to cost a hospital between $1,580 and $3,160!
Zone charges are $1,530 per trip. without regard to how far they must travel, or haw long it takes them. A trip across town would incur a $1,530 charge!
Adding the minimum labor, the minimum charge for an onsite visit would be $3,110, even if the service engineer were across the street.
I believe that these charges and rates are flagrant attempts to place undue pressure on hospitals to sign contracts,which themselves are very lucrative for the company.
Please factor these after-purchase costs in when deciding which medical equipment to purchase. Pat Lynch
According to a recent study from Consumer Reports, most products seldom break during the two to three year window covered by an average service plan. Then, when they do break, your repairs tend to cost as much as the plan itself. Keep in mind that the manufacturer will sometimes cover out-of-warranty items, as well.
If your appliance breaks down within a short amount of time or because of a known issue, the manufacturer will usually offer free discounts or repairs, if you contact them for help. Another thing to consider is the extra charges associated with extended warranties. Some repairs call for the item to be shipped to the manufacturer, which typically isn’t covered by the company. In other cases, you may be required to pay a service charge when someone comes to repair your appliance.
Extended warranties aren’t the best deal for consumers, but salespeople have a reason for pushing you to buy one. Consumer Reports says that most retailers keep 50 percent or more of what they charge for these kinds of plans.
Bottom line: extended warranties aren’t worth it. Keep these things in mind the next time you’re shopping for an appliance and save yourself from unnecessary expenses.