Now the BlackBerry PlayBook gets a 50%-ish price drop, to $300! It's the latest tablet fire-sale to burn away at unsold inventory. Also, the Research In Motion (TSE:RIM) (NASDAQ:RIMM) board may strip Mike "the lizard" Lazaridis and Jim "ballsy" Balsillie of their co-chair titles. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers break out the popcorn.
Your humble blogwatcher (@richi ) curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Computer Stupidities: Programming...
John P. Mello Jr. reports "yet another sale":
$300 represents a substantial knockdown of list prices for the 32 GB ($599) and 64GB ($699) models. ... Even at $300, a buyer may not find the PlayBook much of a bargain.
...RIM wrote off the whole PlayBook experiment and took a charge...for its entire tablet inventory -- 970,000 units worth $485 million.
Theresa Tedesco and Matt Hartley add rumors of "a corporate shakeup":
[It] could see co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie relinquish their titles as co-chairmen. ... Barbara Stymiest, an independent director...is believed to be the leading candidate to replace [them].
...A committee of seven independent directors...including Ms. Stymiest, have been examining the companys board structure. ... [RIM] agreed to the governance review last July to avoid a public confrontation at its [AGM]. ... Stymiest, 55, the former head of TSX Group Inc. and former [COO] at Royal Bank of Canada, is said...to become the companys first ever independent chair.
Charles Arthur runs the depressing numbers:
RIM shares jumped...on investor hopes that the struggling BlackBerry maker was listening to increasingly strident demands for change.
[Co]-founders Lazaridis and Balsillie are both co-CEOs...[and] RIM's second- and third-largest shareholders, with...more than 5% of the stock apiece.
...The [73%] RIM share-price drop in 2011, which has seen it barely worth the value of its assets, prompted calls...for RIM to consider strategic alternatives such as a split or an outright sale.
But Roger Cheng is not about to join the naysayer chorus:
[It's] easy to forget that despite its troubles, the company is actually on solid financial footing. ... [RIM] is still a company able to generate...$5 billion in revenue and...$900 million in cash flow from operations in a quarter. ... [It has] a clean balance sheet...[and] a valuable stash of intellectual property.
BlackBerry's brand, which may have lost its luster a bit in the U.S., is still strong overseas. ... RIM's subscriber base actually grew 35 percent over a year ago to 75 million users.
...RIM may still end up crashing eventually, but I wouldn't count it among the walking dead yet.
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: email@example.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.