Research in Motion is denying a report that the company is abandoning its BlackBerry PlayBook and getting out of the tablet market.
RIM doesn't typically comment on rumors, but any suggestion that the BlackBerry PlayBook is being discontinued is pure fiction, a RIM spokesperson wrote in an email to Forbes. RIM remains highly committed to the tablet market.
But what else is the company going to say? RIM (NASDAQ: RIMM) has tens of thousands of unsold PlayBooks it needs to move from warehouses and retailer shelves.
There have been rumors that the company is failing also -- rumors that are bouyed by reliable fact as Blackberry smartphone sales plunge, executives leave the company, BlackBerry PlayBook tablet sales drag, and so forth. But RIM has denied those, too.
All is fine for RIM, the company will have you believe.
Just check out all these new BlackBerry smartphone models, and look at our wonderful PlayBook, the company says.
Meanwhile, the list of problems plaguing RIM and its BlackBerry brand are long. Most observers think it's only a matter of time before Research in Motion, based in Canada, has to face the sad music: It's future isn't as bright as the company likes to suggest.
So while the company steadfastly denies it is abandoning the PlayBook and leaving the tablet space, that's the news and commitment today. And it comes from the best of intentions, certainly -- the scramble to remain relevant.
RIM doesn't want to abandon its BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Just as HP didn't want to abandon its slow-selling TouchPad tablet.
Borders, once America's second-largest bookstore chain, didn't want to liquidate and close. Neither does RIM want to be forced to sell out -- its company and its brand gutted for technology and patents as the BlackBerry brand is left to shrivel in the cold winter.
But if slow sales continue and as Amazon nears launch of its new $199 Kindle Fire tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet could be headed for the fire sale bin and discontinued. After all, RIM's commitment can only go so far. If consumers don't want it, they don't want it.
Already RIM has discounted the price of its 7-inch tablet computer amid slow sales to $299 from $499. And that's not helping much. Once Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet comes out at $199, consumers will learn that the Fire is very similar to the BlackBerry PlayBook, but it costs a lot less.
It's not that BlackBerry smartphones are bad, or that the BlackBerry Playbook tablet is no good. The products are fine. They just aren't hitting the global consumer's sweet spot, for a variety of reasons (the list is too long to list here.)
Suffice to say that RIM is trying, but it's been too slow to adjust and seemingly off base in facing several realities that have hindered the company and its products. But whether the company denies reality or not, reality ultimately cannot be avoided.
Reality is that the BlackBerry PlayBook is likely headed for the discount bin, and RIM is likely headed for some sort of demise, a corporate discount bin sale, if you will.
Whether the company admits it or not.