well, first of all, unhappy customers vote with their wallets, not with their dreams of social equality among photographers.
and yes, for those who have been around long enough to remember, Canon DID change the FD lens mount to the present EF mount, and a great many photographers, including some that I know, were impacted. one even left the business (rather accelerated his retirement) because of the large investment and because he knew his old equipment could not keep up with the competition for very long. But I didn't see any letters to the UN demanding that Canon preserve a long term relationship with him or make EF backwards compatible with FD.
I'm not trying to be difficult here, but you keep bringing up terms like "gouging" and "long term relationship", as if Canon has some social obligation. They don't. Canon doesn't have a relationship with anyone except their suppliers and key product champions, sponsored photographers, or whatever they need to accomplish their profitability goals. the rest of us make investment versus risk choices. nothing prevents one from taking advantage of the relatively strong used market prices and switch brands. you can shift the risk to someone else.
and, if by experience you worry that canon will increase the price of puppy chow, then you can choose not to continue investing in their proprietary system and take the risk of investing in someone else's proprietary system. I'm not saying thats easy for all, but it is what it is.
There's no question that in order to remain profitable, Canon has to listen, but I bet their #1 corporate objective is profit, not listening, nor is it arguing about the morality of a 10% fluctuation in price.
Lol, don't label me a socialist just because I am unhappy with the recent price increases from Canon (including their lenses) :-). My point was simply that the camera was initially overpriced and the significant price drops only months after introduction confirm my observation.
I didn't really mean to go where our conversation is leading, but since we are there... I do believe customers can have expectations. I'm sure you expect your new 5D Mark III to work well beyong the 1 year warranty, even though that's not explicitly promised. Assuming it starts falling apart due to cheap components Canon used to boost their bottom line, is it your problem, because Canon does not owe you anything? On the flip side, if you shoot weddings, do you try to make your customers happy? Or do you do a sloppy bare-minimum job, telling the couple to go somewhere else next time, if they don't like it :-)?
Now, I don't imply that companies should satisfy the (reasonable) expectations because they have social obligations or because of sheer kindness. No, they do that to stay competitive, because a bad reputation would kill the profits in the long run. As you said, unhappy customers vote with their wallets, at least in theory.
In practice it's not so straightforward. The wedding photographer's profit may not be affected, whether the newly-wed couple is happy or not. In Canon's case, it would take a lot of price increases before they outweigh the cost and hassle of switching systems. Until then, all customers can do is complain :-). I bet your friend, who lost his business, did complain, even if he did not write letters to the UN. Is Canon going to listen to us - probably not. But you seem to indicate that we have no rights even to complain and must put up with any crap that Canon chooses to throw our way, because it's OK that they only care about their profit and not about their customers.
On a side note, it's more than a 10% increase. It's a hefty 30% over the initial price of 5DII ($3500 vs $2700). At that rate, Mark V is going to cost close to $6000.
Don't get me wrong, I am not penny-pinching. I overpaid a couple of hundred more than once, when I needed the lens right away. I had no regrets and I did not complain. But that was different. It was a market fluctuation, while this seems like a strategy from Canon to boost its profits at the expense of their customers.