It's becoming clear that the BlackBerry Playbook is significantly hurting an already ailing Research in Motion, after the company announced Friday morning that it will take a $485 million charge as a result of poor tablet sales. The tablet, which launched back in April sold just 500,000 tablets in its first quarter, 250,000 in its next quarter, and then a meager 150,000 this quarter, reports The Wall Street Journal's Chip Cummins. To give an idea of how measly that is, RIM sold just one Playbook for every 23 iPads during its Q2.
Since its debut, the PlayBook has enjoyed poor reviews, initiated by the tablet's lack of native e-mail, and the sales to match. But as of late, the tablet has gone downhill even further. After six months on the market and just in time for the holiday rush, Research in Motion decided to hack its device's price to $199. The PlayBook started at a very pricey $499 -- the same as the going rate for Apple's 16GB iPad 2, that came with more apps and e-mail. Not too long after Amazon came out with its discount Kindle Fire, BlackBerry matched the price. Not only is it paying for this price cut with that $485 million charge, but it's not clear that sales are up. After this "limited time promotion" Best Buy was reportedly canceling PlayBook orders and had pulled the tablet from its site, which might be a good sign: BlackBerry Playbooks are actually selling out! But as Electronista points out, usually the electronics store will keep sold out products on the site, with an out of stock message. So perhaps Best Buy doesn't plan on ordering any more, ever.
The PlayBook is just the latest woe for Research in Motion. It has had a particularly rough year on all fronts. The PlayBook is just the latest device it can't seem to get right. Every single one of its recent phone releases hasn't wowed reviewers. On top of listless offerings, the company managed to alienate its diminishing customer base with a four-day outage last October, which RIM tried to make up for with apps instead of money. In the last three months its stock has continued a downward slope, at least in part to poor tablet sales, yet Research in Motion is staying positive. "RIM is committed to the BlackBerry PlayBook and believes the tablet market is still in its infancy," said the company.