Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Is the Playbook a Deadbook?

I just don’t get RIM’s Playbook…and from the sounds of things neither does anyone else.

On their latest earnings call RIM said they only shipped 200,000 units in the last quarter. They shipped 500,000 in the quarter previous to that. I’m guessing that means that some poor retailer has enough of these things sitting in a warehouse somewhere to pave an awful lot of driveways.

I’d love to see the sell through rates on this one because I’d say that this story Best Buy discounts Playbook has more to it than this story Harvey Norman reports 'fantastic' PlayBook sales.

Of course it depends on your definition of fantastic. I mean if you’ve got 100 units in your warehouse and you sell 75 then they are fantastic sales, if you’ve got 10,000 and you sell 75, well, not so much.

RIM also said that they shipped less Blackberry handsets than they forecast even though they increased the number of subscribers. If you take into account timing on contracts and the slow movement of corporates to other smartphone platforms I’d have to say that Jim Balsille and Mike Lazaridis should start worrying.

What are they going to do when slowing sales at the front end of the pipeline starts translating to reducing subscriber counts at the back end as users start moving to other smartphone platforms?

How is RIM going to turn this around, or, at some time in the future will their decomposing corporate corpse just be a footnote on some other company’s balance sheet?

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