I am usually skeptical about claims of deliberate "hobbling": that a company is making a product less good than it could be in order to avoid taking sales from with its other products, unless those other products have a near monopoly, with no significant competition form other brands. When there is viable competition, the main consequence of such hobbling would be pushing sales to competitors' similarly priced but un-hobbled products, not to the company's own more expensive products.
But on the internet, the most cynical interpretation of the facts is often the most popular, so I expect the hobbling explanation to stay popular.
Maybe because it has basis in truth. The reason RED was set up was because the founder was fed up of the hobbled cameras on offer from the established players, a frustration I also shared, but I'm not rich enough to create a company to fill the hole!
And you do not lose out to a rival brand if the entire business is based around crippling cameras to certain price points. Video cameras were particularly dreadful in this respect with certain features being left out of each pricing tier forcing you to jump to a much more expensive camera, just to get something that would have neglible affect on production costs, but is known to be needed for pro production work. Just like train prices at commuter times can be 10 times the off peak cost. And every couple of years, the cameras would be upgraded ever so slightly with a tiny trickle of features that should have been there in the first place [a marketing tactic Apple are masters at].
I also seem to vaguely recall it is part of Japanese business practice not to upset how business is done by seriously undercutting your Japanese rivals, not quite a cartel, but more like a gentleman's agreement. And interestingly, it was a brash American who changed things.
For example, the reason why video suddenly appeared in DSLRs and the rise of the new Sony video gear with large chips and small prices is directly because of RED's emergence. RED completely disrupted the old business model. DSLRs always had the potential to do video as it's just a firmware upgrade, just like all the pocket cameras do. But the camera makers wanted to protect their video divisions [except Nikon who aren't really that interested in video], so they never enabled the feature until there was possible competition and even if RED disappears due to its slowness in bringing kit to market, they still will have been massively influential and indeed game changers as Canon, Sony and Panasonic were forcedby RED's new business model of not hobbling cameras to offer professional features at price points that were affordable.
Before RED, people always rented cameras for film/high end video shoots, now many production companies buy them outright and still save money.