RIM could writedown $1 billion on unsold PlayBooks, desperately seeks new investors

May 30, 2012

Analysis from Bloomberg suggests that RIM's in-house inventory of unsold devices has crept up by 18% over the last quarter, and says that this may force the company to writedown as much as $1 billion on unsold BlackBerry smartphones and PlayBook tablets.

This move would remarkably be the firm’s third writedown in just over six months. Back in last November, the firm was forced to writedown $485 million for unsold PlayBooks, and followed this by a similar deed for $267 million of unsold BlackBerry 7 handsets in February.

Sadly for RIM, the bad news doesn't end there. Sources this week report that RIM is planning to to cut anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 jobs, with the company also contracting investment banks J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and RBC Capital Markets to carry out a strategic review into the company’s first quarter, which ends on June 2.

Many industry insiders see this as something of a desperate measure, and Heins himself isn’t overly optimistic. He said today that the business will take an earnings fall in the quarter based on “lower volumes and highly competitive pricing dynamics in the marketplace”.

It is also thought that both banks may put word around that RIM is opening to new investors, news which could potentially see the BlackBerry platform being licensed to third-party vendors, or the chance of RIM being acquired outright.

This is by no means the first rumor on a RIM takeover, and both Amazon and Samsung were said to be interested in buying the beleaguered manufacturer early this year, before thinking better of it.

Since then, it seemed for a while that RIM had got its act together, what with appointing Thorsten Heins as CEO and finally launching PlayBook 2.0 OS. However, for all of this, the problems of 2011 don’t seem to be going away any time soon.


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