updated 09:20 am EDT, Wed September 21, 2011
Quanta said dropping PlayBook order sharply
RIM's steep drop-off in BlackBerry PlayBook shipments from the summer is carrying over into the fall, tipsters outlined on Wednesday. A "large decrease" in orders has reportedly seen contract manufacturer Quanta drop production to just 100,000 of the tablets each month, Digitimes said. The decline may have led to 1,000 layoffs at Quanta's factory for the PlayBook, or half the staff at the plant.
The staff cuts would be a wound to RIM's trust. Quanta set up a plant in northern Taiwan just to handle the PlayBook out of RIM's fear that Chinese cloners would copy the design if Quanta used regular factories. Shipping just 200,000 PlayBooks during the latest quarter leaves many of these expenses unneeded.
Some of the shipment reduction will have been necessary from overstock as RIM works to clear inventory rather than more new units. Under 800,000 were shipped in the spring and will have left RIM still working through some of this supply even as it produces more.
RIM is widely thought to have had overly optimistic goals for the PlayBook, presuming that the BlackBerry name would give it the same success it once had in phones. As many as four million to five million were to have shipped this year. In current production, it may not pass 1.5 million to two million.
In its current performance, RIM is shipping one PlayBook for every 23 iPads that Apple delivers. Actual sales to customers haven't been detailed, although RIM has acknowledged that its sell-through is disappointing where Apple sells every unit it doesn't have to set aside for replacements.