Company says it is taking a $485 million charge because they are selling the Blackberry Playbook at around $200. The good news is that they are actually selling. The bad news is that they are sold about about a $150-$200 loss per unit.
A $485 million writedown for the discounting, along with costs related to a worldwide shutdown of BlackBerry service in October, caused RIM to warn that third-quarter revenue would be â€œslightly lowerâ€ than the $5.3 billion to $5.6 billion it had previously forecast.
In a statement, the company also said that it did not expect to meet its earnings target for the year. RIM will announce official results for the third quarter on Dec. 15.
RIM has repeatedly struggled to meet targets this year as it worked to stem a loss of market share for BlackBerry phones in North America. Fridayâ€™s restatement sent RIMâ€™s shares down by $1.81, or 10 percent, to $16.77 a share, on Nasdaq.
Its stock is down 76 percent from the 2011 high of $69.86 posted on Feb. 18.
The base model Playbook, once priced at $500, is now being offered for $200. Tavis McCourt, an analyst with Morgan Keegan in Nashville, estimated that the tablets cost RIM $350 to $400 to manufacture.
I heard on the radio today that the per unit cost is around $265 and this site says that they only cost $205 to manufacture if you marketing and research and development costs are not included. It was odd to look back and read that RIM was going to ship this and that within 60 days of itâ€™s launch and nothing has shipped yet. Itâ€™s what stopped me from purchasing a Playbook a couple of months ago. The other thing that has to hurt is when you see the Acer Iconia and the Motorola Xoom running Android which actually include Skype, IM, and email.
RIM has consistently overpromised and under delivered which is one of the reasons I traded in my Blackberry for something else, I lost confidence in the company.
I think this is a good move by RIM. Itâ€™s a seven inch tablet for the same price as the 10 inch iconic iPad. By slashing their prices (Wal-Mart is offering them for $249), it gives people like me a reason to look at them.
Hewlett-Packard Co.â€™s TouchPad device was deemed a spectacular failure when it launched this summer, which led to now-former chief executive Leo Apothekerâ€™s decision to discontinue the webOS tablet after just 48 days of sales in the U.S.
But when the worldâ€™s largest computer maker opted to slash the price of the TouchPad to just US$99 in an effort to sell off its remaining inventory â€” a decision which may have cost HP more than US$400-million and helped cause Mr. Apothekerâ€™s untimely ouster last week â€” customers were lining up outside electronics stores to get their hands on the TouchPad.
It appears the PlayBook price cuts may already be having the desired result. Future Shopâ€™s online store lists the 16 GB version of the PlayBook as â€œtemporarily out of stockâ€ and other retailers have reported selling out of the PlayBook.
But just as HP wound up feeling the pain of the TouchPadâ€™s demise on its balance sheet, if RIMâ€™s only recourse to bolster PlayBook sales is to offer steep discounts, the company could be facing a devastating financial reckoning the next time it reports quarterly financial results in December.
While the price drop is likely to give a much needed shot in the arm to PlayBook sales as electronics retailers gear up for Black Friday and the ensuing holiday shopping season, the fact remains that margins in the consumer electronics business are razor thin, and falling prices put a squeeze on potential profit.
In the most recent quarter, RIMâ€™s gross margin fell to 38.7% with net income of US$329-million, down substantially from a gross margin of 43.9% and net income of US$695 in the prior quarter. What sort of impact this price cut has on RIMâ€™s balance sheet remains to be seen.
Since launching Windows Phone 7, itâ€™s marketshare has dropped 38% which means that by the time that Nokia introduces Windows Phone 7 devices, the OS may be about as popular as the Symbian OS it dropped in support of Windows 7.
The question is for how much longer handset makers and carriers will consider it worth supporting Windows Phone 7. Microsoft’s mobile market share has been declining at a compound rate of about 5% per month for the past six months. At that pace, its overall share may be be hovering around just 4% by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, rival Google is on track to dominate smartphones. Android devices held 40% of the market as of the end of June, according to Comscore. Apple’s share came in at 26.6%, while RIM’s share, also in decline, fell to 23.4%.
i donâ€™t know of a single user of Windows Phone 7 now that I think about it. No one I know even talks about it.
I was reading a couple of reviews for the LG Bliss and while I was okay with my Samsung Link, I would really liked a better web browser and some more app options. Wendy went out and bought me one and I have had it for the last week. Here are the pros of the phone.
- Decent web browser. Not as good as the iPhoneâ€™s but decent. I can use Gmailâ€™s text based or regular mobile interface as well as Google Calendar. It is exponentially faster than the Samsung Linkâ€™s browser and hey, it actually renders websites properly.
- The touch keyboard isnâ€™t that bad. After a week of using it, I have become fonder of it and faster using it than I was at the start of the week. It is just something to get used to but is quite usable.
- 2 megapixel camera. While I wonâ€™t be printing off a bunch of photos taken with it, it is good enough to upload to Flickr.
- Virgin Mobile only charges $10/month for unlimited web surfing. Thatâ€™s a great, great deal. With the speed of the browser, itâ€™s a service that I will be using a lot more rather than reaching for my iPod Touch.
- The speaker phone is quite a bit louder than my Samsung Link. I can toss it on the passenger seat and actually drive while having a conversation which is useful when I forget to grab my Bluetooth earpiece.
- While it has a decent text messaging inbox, it doesnâ€™t handle e-mail which I was sad about. The inbox is so well designed that pop3 or IMAP capability would be amazing.
- While Google java apps install, they wonâ€™t work because of the touch screen. Quite annoying and the phone would go from good to amazing if it worked with Google apps.
- I miss the â€œrecently textedâ€ list that the Samsung Link has. Itâ€™s a great way to keep those that I am in constant contact with in easy reach.
Overall, itâ€™s not a smartphone and if I was RIM, I wouldnâ€™t be that worried that it was going to eat away Blackberry marketshare but itâ€™s cheap ($119 with no contract), works well as a cell phone, and pretty good as a digital media and web browsing device. If you are a Bell, Virgin Mobile, or SaskTel customer, you may want to check it out. As for the Samsung Link, itâ€™s a great texting phone, has the Virgin Email App installed, is a great price ($69.99) but doesnâ€™t get along that well with the web. In the end, it kind of comes down to which you care about more, the web or email but both are good phones. Wendy has a Samsung Link and I am happy with the LG Blissâ€¦ we donâ€™t have any regrets with either purchase.
Wendy and I have become big fans of Ping! for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
My Blackberry loving friends love their Blackberry Messenger which allows for free real time messenging between Blackberry devices. They love to taunt use Apple users with it.
Sadly the iPhone and iPod Touch has nothing like itâ€¦ until now when I found Ping!, itâ€™s a new app available for the iPhone and is the equivalent to the much-loved Blackberry Messenger. It is made by the creator who was behind PushGmail, Ping! is a fast and free SMS like service that notifies the user of incoming messages even when his or her iPhone is inactive and itâ€™s all for free.
If you have a iPod Touch or a iPhone, you can try out the free app. There is a paid app which is only 99 cents. I upgraded Wendy and I without even thinking about it. I have lived through a lot of cutting edge services (GeoCities, Blogger, Twitter) going down and I expect there may be some bad days ahead for Ping! but you never know and I hope for the best. Until then, letâ€™s enjoy the service, it looks like a fun and useful one.
If you feel like giving us a Ping!, you can find me at jordoncooper and Wendy at wendycooper (we arenâ€™t exactly creative on the usernames).