Since launch, the BlackBerry PlayBook has failed to sell, despite some crazy discounting of recent time. Now RIM is writing off $US485 million in leftover stock because it doesn't think it can recoup it in sales. Ouch.
The company's announcement today came in anticipation of its looming December 15 earnings report. In financial jargon, RIM is "recording a pre-tax provision" of $US485 million. In real normal human words, they've got warehouses full of unsold PlayBooks — and it the company is waving goodbye to half a bilion dollars because it doesn't think it can shift its stock.
RIM does plan to continue its aggressive pricing discounts to move units. But even with a week or so at $US200 a pop, only 150,000 PlayBooks were sold in the third quarter of 2011. They'll be up against if if they're planning to get rid of them all.
It's not a retreat, though. RIM claim to be "committed to the BlackBerry PlayBook" and believe "the tablet market is still in its infancy." Looks like this setback isn't enough to put them off entirely, then. At least not until it can put a native email client in its business tablet.
One more interesting little nugget from the report to round things off: the BlackBerry outage earlier in the year seems to have cost RIM $US50 million. That was a fairly expensive mistake. [RIM via The Verge]