It's no secret that Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) has been having a hard time moving PlayBooks.
The notion of moving thousands of units in one fell swoop should sound like early Christmas to the beleaguered Canadian company. Between RIM's self-proclaimed "high volume of PlayBook orders" causing order delays and its admittedly "high level of BlackBerry PlayBook inventory," I wouldn't know what to believe if it weren't for its latest release detailing only 150,000 units shipped.
The latest news about PlayBooks getting a move on isn't exactly a positive development, since the users in question weren't exactly willing to pay for them. A shipment of PlayBooks was stolen from a truck stop in Indiana when the driver stopped in to use the facilities. One local report pegged the unit loss at 5,200 PlayBooks that were loaded onto the truck's trailer before it was commandeered, valued between $1.7 million and $5 million, depending on which models were inside.
Wait a second; my Fool sense is tingling.
Last time I checked, the high-end PlayBook price tag isn't almost three times the low-end price. A $5 million valuation implies a value of $962 per unit. The $1.7 million figure comes to $327 per unit, which is at least remotely reasonable, even though I could have sworn people only buy PlayBooks when retailer Best Buy (NYSE: BBY ) slices 60% off the asking price, down to $199.
Whoever came up with that figure needs to show their work, but either way the loss doesn't compare to the $485 million pre-tax charge the company already took in inventory provisions.
On the other hand, it's also not as embarrassing as the reports of muggers in New York who politely decline to take BlackBerrys and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android devices, only wanting to snatch Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPhones. A pair of thieves has been preying on Columbia University students and has already turned down a Motorola Mobility (NYSE: MMI ) Droid and BlackBerry.
One student said, "It's insulting they don't want my BlackBerry," while another echoed the swindlers' sentiments, "I don't like mine. I'm waiting to get an iPhone myself."
This batch of PlayBook shipments isn't moving under the most opportune of circumstances, but at least they're moving and people actually want the things.
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