RIM forced to take Playbook SNAFU on the chin

More on RIM’s doomed pet project and iPad flop, the Playbook. Troubled RIM will be forced to keep its device afloat because it’s the first product that features RIM’s QNX operating system.

A Reuters investigation reveals analysts agreeing that the Playbook is accidentally crucial to the company’s strategy.

RIM is forced into taking the lacklustre sales and bargain bin price cuts like a champ as it runs on QNX, soon to be BBX. One Morgan Keegan analyst, Tavis McCourt, told Reuters that if RIM was to ditch the device the company runs the risk of disillusioning potential developers. Besides, BBX is “their only real shot to revive the business,” he said.

RIM is planning to get BBX on Blackberry handsets in the near future, but for now it’s forced into coping with the tepid reaction to Blackberry 7. Moving onto BBX and keeping it polished will be essential, analysts agree. 

Meanwhile, some analyst houses believe RIM has at least 1 million Playbooks sitting untouched in warehouses. At its launch, reviewers were critical of its frankly bizarre features like requiring a docked Blackberry to access email.

A Deutsche Bank analyst, Brian Modoff, told Reuters: “The company seems to be mis-executing in hardware, software and service – the entire operation.” Read the full report here

Keeping the tablet alive is costing RIM money especially as more retailers insisted on flogging the device at cut-rate prices. 

RIM’s target audience – the corporate and enterprise crowd – might have bought into the Playbook had the features not been so disastrous. But users in that field are increasingly moving towards using apps anyway. Good Technology’s Andrew Jacques recently told us: “RIM doesn’t play in that space – their developer relations are poor, people are shifting away and moving towards smartphones. RIM’s attempt at the tablet has been a disaster.”

It looks like if RIM is to stand a chance of catching up to the competition, it’s going to need to pull something spectacular out of the bag.

No wonder RIM’s public relations team is so iffy with a disaster on their hands more often than not – heck, it’s enough to drive senior execs to booze-fuelled mid-flight Boeing barneys. The drunken senior execs at least managed to turn something around – the plane.