Research In Motion has been riding a consumer rollercoaster for many months now. When RIM first released the PlayBook, Blackberry fans across the world rejoiced. The PlayBook was meant to be RIM’s answer to the iPad, and this was something RIM supporters were looking forward to. Unfortunately for RIM, the PlayBook didn’t sell as well as the company had hoped. In an effort to sell more PlayBooks, RIM reduced the PlayBook price during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Still, the PlayBook didn’t sell. Now, RIM has totaled its losses and that number is a very large one. Today, RIM is reporting a $485 million dollar write-down. That’s a large chunk of change for a company that hasn’t seem smartphone or tablet sales rise in a long while. Even though RIM attempted to compete with other tablets on the market, there are some very clear reasons why the company has not been successful.
Problems from the Start
RIM did something that most other companies would never do. In order to ship a tablet as quickly as possible, RIM sent out PlayBooks that weren’t fully operational. As consumers quickly discovered, RIM’s PlayBook wasn’t email ready, it didn’t have a contact app (essential to any tablet), and the PlayBook was sans calendar. These things are basic and consumers expected their PlayBooks to include all of these basic things. Yet, RIM didn’t deliver. Even when the PlayBook was priced low during pre-holiday sales days, consumers opted for tablets that were equipped with all of the essentials.
RIM has told press that the company plans to release an update for the PlayBook that includes email, calendar, and contact applications, but some analysts believe that it is too late. For those people who have already purchased an incomplete PlayBook, most of them are stuck with the tablet. However, those who are considering purchasing a tablet this holiday season are likely to look to other tablets produced by companies that have prepared a complete product prior to shipping. In addition to sending out an unfinished product, RIM’s update will not come until February 2012 – two months too late for the holiday rush.
RIM is Dwindling
Not only are RIM sales slipping, but RIM is beginning to lose those loyal customers the company once had. Even though many business people around the world believe that the Blackberry is the only acceptable business phone (a notion I’ve heard at least a dozen times), RIM needs to generate profits in order to stay in business. Those who have Blackberry phones aren’t going to keep RIM afloat for long, and most people have moved onto a comparable Apple, Android, or Windows phone.
Even though RIM has not had any success with the PlayBook, there are no plans to abandon the tablet any time soon. Seemingly, RIM has faith that a few adjustments and updates will turn PlayBook sales around to what the company originally projected. As has been said before (and it will be said many times again), RIM must give consumers what they want if the company plans on staying afloat. Otherwise, Blackberry users will soon have to find another business phone.