I'm about value for money, that's all. I don't see it in the black booth. Sorry. It's great that they've "supported" (ie, sold products to) performance boating all these years, but it's only because they could ultimately make money off of it by association, not out of the generosity of their hearts. (How many racers and/or poker runners got any product for no charge?) The job has been made easier by a lack of real competition, which also explains the age of much of the drive technology. Fair enough - that's good business sense. They may be the emperor, but I for one do not see their clothes. Does anyone here think they've handled the Bravo problems well over the last decade or so? The "ACE" is long, long overdue.
Rich is right - Volvo doesn't make a true high-speed drive in the racing sense, but when I can save $37,000 on my pleasure boat and not give up any speed to the Mercury package, it's a no-brainer. I've also learned to appreciate the value of neutral when docking.... I don't buy a new boat every year, so resale value isn't that big a deal - I'd rather have a decade of reliability and enjoyment. Besides - what's happened recently to the price of 575SCi boats (and soon 600SCi boats)?
I'm not sure I agree about there being no Volvo without Mercury. Strang went to Volvo because Elmer (Karl) Kiekhafer absolutely refused to build the stern drive, and only acquiesced to do so when the market forced him to. Jim Wynne obviously saw the value in the technology, and he knows a little something about boats. Without Volvo, there might not be sterndrives - we'll never know.
Anyway, my feelings about Volvo aside, it's not about them. I just see Mercury as a technology follower, not a technology leader. I agree that it's the right thing for them to do in their position - let the other guys take the risk, and then jump in when something becomes mainstream. Just don't try to convince me it's cutting edge when it's not (or not even available).