BlackBerry PlayBook was a terrible idea that was rushed to market too early by a company still shell shocked by the lead it had surrendered to Apple in the smartphone sector. And so determined it was not to make the same mistake in the emerging tablet market, it invented a whole new kind of #Stoopid.
Your humble Grok was managing an IT group that RIM at the time started hawking early copies of the PlayBook around and everything about it screamed wrong with a big dose of #fail. If you didn't own a BlackBerry phone then PlayBook was basically just a paper weight, and don't get us started on the positioning.
Here's some gratuitous advice for RIM; your audience is people in suits, not kids in nightclubs. Your ally is the security conscious IT executive who loves your centralised control. Alas, Grok was instructed most deliberately and firmly by his colleagues at the time to play ball — or play book if you like — despite our many, many, many warnings to them about the very obvious flaws in the PlayBook strategy. (I state "many" three times in this story but there were actually many more). So, on the off chance they are still gainfully employed putting their shareholders funds at risk on any other obvious non starters, we'd like to suggest it points its browsers (that's the bit of software that connects you to the internet thingamabob) over here.
Techcrunch reports that RIM will book half a billion dollars in charges for product failures this year of which the PlayBook will contribute $485 million from inventory overproduction. That's right. It was such a good idea that $485 million worth of customers went shopping somewhere else. "That enormous PlayBook charge really indicates how serious a misstep the device was. While there are plenty of happy PlayBook owners out there (especially after recent markdowns), the numbers are nowhere near what RIM must have expected, and sales have been less than half what they shipped," Techcrunch states.
About the best that can be said for a company with what seems its only recent market leadership positions to be in rapid and predictable reversals of fortune, is that it was not alone. Acer got spanked as well due to a glut of inventory. But as the story indicates, Acer at least acknowledged its folly, whereas RIM continues to march on with all the wooden headed surety it can muster.
At least RIM is allowed to sell its tablets....
Samsung v Apple continues to entertain industry watchers, and keep lawyers in silk as we head into the Christmas season. And of course that's the point, because once Christmas is past, the window for the current generation of tablet sales will close quickly and Apple will have won through obfuscation, even if it ultimately loses in the courts.
In the latest shenanigans, Apple scored one back after a rare court victory for Samsung earlier in the week in which the Taiwanese outfit managed to get an injunction on Galaxy Tab sales in Australian lifted. Alas for Samsung, Apple quickly managed to get an injunction on the lifting of the injunction (see, that's how the law works) and so it's back to the courts on December 9 for all the lawyers and their wheelbarrows full of other people's money. The SMH quotes Queensland intellectual property (IP) lawyer, Peter Black, saying the High Court really had no choice to but extend the ban. "He reiterated his doubts raised on Wednesday against the High Court granting Apple special leave to appeal as the Federal Court full bench judgment on Wednesday did not raise a “novel question of law," the article states.
Andrew Birmingham is the CEO of Silicon Gully Investments and the proud owner of neither an iPad nor a Galaxy, or even a BlackBerry PlayBook for that matter. For the record, the best phone he ever owned was a BlackBerry. Follow him in Twitter at @ag_birmingham