08-15-11 11:31 AM
- RIM Playbook Suffers Another Blow As Sprint Halts 4G Version
By Greg Bensinger Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
AUGUST 12, 2011, 1:55 P.M. ET
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Research In Motion Ltd.'s (RIMM) tablet hopes were dealt another blow as Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) said it canceled plans to sell a version of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet on its speedier network.
The decision means the device hasn't yet found any support from the three largest U.S. wireless carriers, which includes AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Wireless. Without their backing, RIM will have to bear the burden of sales and marketing support for the device, as well as application development.
In contrast, Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) market-dominating iPad is advertised and supported by both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, and the tablet is displayed prominently in stores.
Sprint had said in January it would sell a version of the device as soon as this summer that would run on its fourth-generation network. The carrier said this week that those plans had been halted because the market for tablets has became too crowded.
"It's an interesting concept, it just hasn't caught on with business customers as much as they would like," said Paget Alves, president of Sprint's business markets group. "There are so many tablets in the market, it creates confusion for the average customer."
A Sprint spokeswoman added that the decision "has no impact on our relationship with RIM." The Overland Park, Kan., company noted that competing tablets, such as the Xoom from Motorola Mobility Holding Inc. (MMI) and the Evo View from HTC Corp. (2498.TW), had increased competition in the space.
Representatives from Research In Motion did not respond Friday to requests for comment. RIM shares rose 1.4% Friday to $24.51, and Sprint advanced 1.5% to $3.17.
RIM co-Chief Executive Mike Lazaridis said as recently as June that the company would offer a version of the PlayBook this summer enabled for the 4G WiMax network Sprint uses through partner Clearwire Corp. (CLWR). Lazaridis said he expected to roll out PlayBooks on additional networks in the fall.
The Waterloo, Ontario-based company launched the PlayBook in April with the aim of luring new customers as sales of BlackBerry smartphones grew more slowly. Since then, RIM has had to contend with tepid reviews, a small recall and an inability for it to connect to some e-mail accounts.
RIM reported it shipped 500,000 Wi-Fi-only PlayBooks in its fiscal 2012 first quarter in North America. By contrast, Apple said it sold 9.3 million iPads in the June-ended quarter, and Motorola recorded 440,000 deliveries of its Xoom tablet.
The Wi-Fi-only version of the Playbook is available through Sprint, Best Buy Co. (BBY), RadioShack Corp. (RSH) and Office Depot Inc. (ODP). RIM also sells the tablet in Australia, Germany and Indonesia, among other countries.
Verizon Wireless, which is co-owned by Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group PLC (VOD), is still evaluating the PlayBook and hasn't determined if it will sell it through its network, a spokeswoman said. An AT&T spokesman said the carrier still plans to offer the device on its network but hasn't yet set a date for doing so.
Rival device-makers have had little success so far in catching up to Apple after its launch of the iPad in April 2010. Estimates vary, but analysts suggest Apple has two-thirds of the market, if not more. In an attempt to close the gap, Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) this week made permanent a $100 price cut, to $399, for its least-expensive TouchPad tablets.
Demand for tablets is seen rising. Research firm IDC in July boosted its world-wide tablet computer shipments forecast to 53.5 million this year, from a previous 50.4 million estimate, even as deliveries of the devices dropped 28% in this year's first three months.
-By Greg Bensinger, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-4676; firstname.lastname@example.org
RIM Playbook Suffers Another Blow As Sprint Halts 4G Version - WSJ.com08-12-11 01:48 PM
- 08-12-11 02:04 PM
- Dont blame Sprint. (I'm a sprint customer). This is RIM's fault completely. It hasn't caught on. I love mine, but I'm frustrated to see the company shooting itself in the foot. Repeatedly. As I've said in other posts - this will be a future business school project of how a company can kill an otherwise successful product. I really want to see them succeed, but you have to deliver what was promised.08-12-11 02:12 PM
- Hey Buzz_Dengue,
Got me beat by 4 min. I posted the same thing.
Its really is sad though. I hope the ATT/Tmo merger fails and Tmo and Sprint merge. That would keep ATT and Verizon on their toes! If Sprint does go under and ATT acquires Tmo, we are doomed.08-12-11 02:13 PM
- God... all I can say is I seriously would punch Mike and Jim so hard in the face if I saw them in public. The lack of communication is absolutely mind blowing. The fact that such a large corporation would alienate its carrier partners to the point where they cancel one of their major products... not much else that can be said as I've said it all before.
For all those who called me a whiner and even worse for even suggesting that RIM was lacking in the communication department, here you go. It's so bad that it just cost them one of their products being sold.
Seriously, if they would just say ANYTHING I would be happy. One little piece of information about why it's taking so long for features to be released... I mean really, as the people who bought the Playbook early and supported it solely based on trust of RIM we deserve that.08-12-11 02:13 PMLike 2
- The reason is clear and Sprint accurately stated it: the device has not caught on with the public. There is no other reason - the fault lies directly with RIM in releasing an incomplete device at launch and failing to address the shortcomings as quick as possible. The delays have killed this device - delays that the two CEO's should be held ultimately responsible for.08-12-11 02:19 PM
- If other carriers cancel their 3G/4G PBs then you may be right, but right now I'm leaning towards the fact that Sprint is trying to figure out how to dump WiMax to switch to LTE and supporting a WiMax tablet doesn't make any sense for them right now. Claiming poor sales just gives them an easy out.08-12-11 02:24 PM
- 08-12-11 02:26 PM
- Rim has nobody but themselves to blame.
After talk of kicking the game into high gear, Balsillie and Lazaridis have done nothing.
They refuse to push their coders (and/or hire additional ones though the company sits on 3 billion in cash) to develop the OS for this thing. And as it is it doesnt sell itself. At the rate they are improving this tablet it will be over a year out of date when it comes to a point consumers were lead to believe it was headed.
Rim has no leadership, no ambition. I just dont get it. They arent even trying.
Posted from my CrackBerry at wapforums.crackberry.com08-12-11 02:27 PM
- If other carriers cancel their 3G/4G PBs then you may be right, but right now I'm leaning towards the fact that Sprint is trying to figure out how to dump WiMax to switch to LTE and supporting a WiMax tablet doesn't make any sense for them right now. Claiming poor sales just gives them an easy out.
I really hope that this prompts RIM to action by bringing out some good enhancements for the Playbook. Regardless of what the "true" reason is behind Sprint's cancellation, this must be a huge wake up call to RIM.08-12-11 02:28 PM
- This is bad. I am not sure that this means that Playbook is a failure but it might.
Remember, Sprint and the other carriers are probably getting previews of the device and that includes Android Player, mail, etc. So, they know what it coming and don't want anything to do with it.08-12-11 02:29 PM
Last edited by TBone4eva; 08-12-11 at 02:37 PM.08-12-11 02:35 PM
Last edited by Economist101; 08-12-11 at 02:42 PM.08-12-11 02:38 PM
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