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RIM ships 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBooks, crashes in phones

updated 04:40 pm EDT, Thu June 16, 2011

RIM spring 2011 results show 500K PlayBooks

RIM on Thursday reported a "challenging" quarter that saw a relatively optimistic start for the BlackBerry PlayBook but a crash in its phones and threatened job cuts. The company shipped 500,000 PlayBooks in its spring quarter, or twice as many tablets as Motorola did with the Xoom in its own most recent period. However, BlackBerry phone sales collapsed dramatically in the same period, falling from 14.9 million in winter to just 13.2 million in the spring.

Revenue was up 16 percent to $4.9 billion, but profit was down to $695 millino versus $769 million just a year ago.

It was a poor start to the company's fiscal year, co-chief Jim Balsillie said. He contended that a "slowdown" that had started in the winter had spilled over into the spring. He also admitted that RIM had had to delay the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and that it wouldn't ship until "very late" in August. Future products in the next few months would help the company bounce back, he insisted.

RIM's product roadmap for 2011 has been widely leaked and includes a high-end replacement for the Storm2 known as the BlackBerry Volt.

The outlook for the summer was bleak. RIM now expected revenue to drop to between $4.2 billion to $4.8 billion and for its profit to be roughly half of what it was in the spring. It planned to undertake a "headcount reduction" of an unknown number of workers to focus on faster-growing areas and get back to timely phone launches, which have been regular problems. Any cuts would take place in the current quarter and would show their impact in the next.

RIM's shortfall in phones is likely to see its market share plunge sharply in the US. Its closest American rival, Apple, shipped 18.65 million iPhones in the winter and won't necessarily see its shipments drop with the spring, results of which should come next month. Apple is now known to have outsold RIM for at least three quarters and may now have an insurmountable lead, particularly in the US.


By Electronista Staff


  1. joecab

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004


    exaggerate much?

    Sales dropped 11% comparing spring sales to pre-holidays winter sales. In what universe is this "collapsed dramatically"? I'm a lot more worried about only selling 500,000 tablets in a quarter compared to how many iPads Apple cranks out.

  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    Buy one Get One Free

    Is this program still going?

  1. santaliqueur

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2011


    Shipped or Sold?

    "Shipped to resellers" and "Sold to Consumers" are very different figures. Why do most OEMs use "shipped" instead of "sold"? Because most of their units are still in the sales channel. Reports of units sold are the only meaningful statistic.

  1. facebook_Shane

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011


    shipped and sales ?

    I hate it when they say they "shipped" so many products, yet they sold so many phones.
    Shipped may mena sold, main mean in stock at retail stores rather than actually sold and bought by customers. I really wish the playbook and Pre 3's do well. Apple needs some serious competition. I played with an Android tablet that a friend bought and found it a bit confusing to set a few things up and get around. Not that intuitive Was surprised . Looks like the playbook is much more intuitive in its nature cant wait to have a play

  1. viktorob

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2011


    Why do most OEMs use "shipped" instead of "sold"?

    Very Easy, that is another way to say "Please share holders, don't abandon us, please! May be one poor customer will confuse our Playbook for an iPad some time some day"

    I think that is the strategy, don't you think there is enough people in the world to find just 500k that would buy the playbook thinking it is really a competitive device? People that will buy the "it does the same as the iPad" publicity?

  1. jdonahoe

    Junior Member

    Joined: Jul 2006


    shipped is sold.......eventually

    When they ship and they don't sell right away, they are sold to discounters. So wait a quarter or two and pick up a playbook at the Dollar Store.


  1. tfmeehan

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2009


    Talk about a distortion field...

    Here is part of what Balsillie said about the playbook "...We don’t have specific numbers on PlayBook sell-through, but we are very pleased with the sell-through..."

    Although, to be fair, I suppose they would be pleased with ANY sell-through at this point.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    Shipped is fine

    You always have some in the channel - believe it or not that is normal.

    As you sell tablets, you get re-order, you ship more. If you don't sell them, you won't have re-orders - you won't ship more. Ultimately shipped and sold track very closely. By next quarters results, you can reliably trust the shipped #. Plus independent checks of sales, have kind of confirmed what RIM is saying - the tablet is selling - not gangbusters, but it has some traction.

    But I mean, the constant harping on using the word 'shipped' - mention of BOGO - mention of how many different manufactures are supporting the OS - oh wait, great, this is RIM, not Android, have to cut and paste from the other file.

    Anyway...good for RIM - this isn't terrible result. Why would BB phones do a turn around - they haven't gotten the playbook OS on to the phones yet - and for that matter they aren't offering flagship phones yet. It's no wonder they haven't turned around in the U.S. they are still ignoring the U.S. market - the reality is those low cost phones are more popular in other countries - and so RIM is doing better in other countries.

    Give up on your low cost phone c*** RIM - come out with high resolution screens, multiple cores, lots of memory - and compete, dang it.

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