Research in Motion has announced that they will take a $485 million charge in the fiscal third quarter thanks to their BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. The company is taking the hit now with plans to put the whole fiasco behind them and move forward, although they claim they are still committed to the tablet.
The PlayBook launched earlier this year starting at $499 but critical reviews and a lack of some key features led to poor sales. Meanwhile Apple’s iPad continued to dominate the landscape and RIM was forced to slash prices several times to move stagnant inventory. The most recent promotion put the tablet at $199 in hopes of boosting holiday sales.
The company had high expectations for the PlayBook but it just wasn’t meant to be. RIM shipped 500,000 tablets in the first quarter it was available, 250,000 more the following quarter and only 150,000 in the most recent quarter. That is a far cry from the 1 million units the company had estimated to ship in January. The BlackBerry maker blamed low sales on multiple factors, one being the delay of a much-anticipated operating system update that would bring several key features to the device like BBM and email.
RIM as a whole still remains profitable despite stiff competition in the US. The company reported two consecutive quarters of declining smartphone shipments but reported selling 14.1 million BlackBerrys in the third quarter. A full third quarter report is expected later this month.