Coming from a Canon dealer's standpoint, this is great. For you guys those instant rebates are good, but Canon doesn't actually do the rebates. They sell the rebates to another company, who reimburse us at 80% of the rebate (and when you generally make about 6% or less on an items, only getting 80% of a rebate back is almost like selling it at a loss). Also give you a ton of paper work for each item and love to reject your forms, which results in us losing money almost every single time Canon does an instant rebate program.
In terms of them raising the price and then giving the rebates, part of the reason companies do rebates is to control prices. Canon has set prices that generally speaking you're not allowed to sell under, but somehow, whether they're just getting stuff cheaper, or they're selling at a loss for some reason, most of the big stores like B&H sell at or just barely above cost, which makes it nearly impossible to survive as a smaller, local retailer. That's actually the biggest reason so many camera stores are going out of business left and right: internet dealers selling everything at cost.
So anyway, I'm really happy that they're going back to a mail in rebate program.