Friday, September 18, 2015

Update from the PH Mouse Pad Division

Lars O'Reilly
Division General Manager

There was a time, not so long ago, when mouse pads were viewed as having little more value than our consulting services: something you give away in the sale of hardware. I can't tell you how many times I was involved in large deals with major customers and the sales organization - at the end of extensive negotiations - would say "ok, the hardware comes to $2.5 million, but I think we can throw in some training and a few mouse pads."

How far we've come. Today, mouse pads are a major source of revenue for PH and in fact our single most profitable product line. Indeed, the Mouse Pad Division in many ways continues our long tradition of excellence in user interface development.

The story of mouse pads and PH is a long one. It began one morning in late 1988 when Harry Hibberson, then the general manager of our supplies and accessories division answered the phone. It was a wrong number. Harry struck up a conversation with the caller, hoping that he might find a buyer for some of the three million Apple Newtons the division had purchased for resale in it's catalog. Instead, Harry became the buyer, since the caller turned out to be Emus Chung, the self styled mouse pad king of Hong Kong. Chung had opened a mouse pad factory in mainland China and offered  Harry  a deal he couldn't refuse. The next day, 11 Boeing 747 cargo planes landed at San Jose airport and unloaded 700 metric tons of mouse pads. PH was in the mouse pad business in a big way.

During the next 15 years, the mouse pad business changed in many ways. A major threat came from the introduction of touch screens and tablets. There was also a real concern that a mouse would be invented that could be used on any surface, eliminating the need for a mouse pad. Fortunately, by pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into research and development, we've been able to keep ahead of the innovation curve in mousing - and we plan to stay ahead in the coming years. 

Mouse pad facts:

  • Did you know that PH's mouse pads can be used with the mice supplied by other vendor's computer equipment? This interoperability is due to our standards based approach to mouse pad design.

  • PH builds a variety of specialized mouse pads. For example, we produce a special, military specification, high friction, low ambient light,  spectral neutral mouse pad for use in the most demanding combat environments. We also supplied the mouse pads used on every space shuttle mission, which cost over $14,000 each.

  • Every PH mouse pad is fully Java compliant and can easily accommodate both a standard mouse and an oversized coffee mug.

  • All of our mouse pads can be easily adapted to left handed operation. For complete instructions click here

  • Our mouse pad support center receives over 33,000 customer calls daily. Over 99% of these calls need to be re-routed to other support centers for help since our mouse pads are legendary for their reliability, and ease of installation and use.  

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