By Greg Mills
Rumors that RIM is pulling the plug on PlayBook and letting hundreds more employees go have been denied by RIM. Collins Stewart analyst John Vinh thinks the PlayBook is about over. He wrote that RIM has “stopped production” of the tablet and is “actively considering” getting out of the tablet market. This rumor was supported by those in the know in Asia, so there must be something to the rumors …
However, rumors aside, prices for RIM’s PlayBook at Best Buy have been cut again, down from US$499 to $399 to $299. The latest cut was to respond to the Amazon Kindle Fire that will sell for $200. It is thought Amazon will lose about $50 each on every Kindle Fire they sell.
You don’t cut prices on products that are selling well. You cut the prices to unload soon to be discontinued products. (See http://www.forbes.com/sites/briancaulfield/2011/09/29/rim-were-committed-to-the-tablet-market/ .)
Weakness in the PlayBook and, for that matter, BlackBerries of all flavors are turning the market sour for RIM. RIM customers are opting for the iPhone in numbers that are sending analysts back to the drawing board on valuing RIM downward even more. RIM briefly rose on rumors that Carl Icahn was about to buy in. Icahn is famous for buying companies in deep trouble and either fixing them or selling off the parts for a profit. Having Icahn circling is sort of like the business version of vultures circling an injured animal. (See http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/27/us-rim-idUSTRE78Q39A20110927 .)
Top executives are leaving RIM as the future looks grim to those in the know. Tyler Lessard, vice president of Developer Relations, is leaving soon. This follows a number of other top executives at RIM. The top marketing director left before the PlayBook was launched. I think he expected the disaster that, in fact, has taken place. The PlayBook was not ready for prime time when launched, and RIM should have held it back to prevent the bad reputation the device now has. (See http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/09/29/bloomberg_articlesLSAHZT0YHQ0X.DTL .)
Notice all the activity the week prior to Apple launching a new iPhone. The competition knows that when Apple launches a new iPhone the air is sucked out of the room for other new product launches. Even Microsoft is leaking more news about its Mango update to the marginalized Windows Mobile platform. Amazon launches its cheap table,t and now the awkward silence as the elephant in the room prepares to blow everyone away with new magic from 1 Infinite Loop.
That is Greg’s Bite, anyway.