RIM's Eating $485 Million in Unsold PlayBooks

Since launch, the BlackBerry PlayBook has failed to sell, despite some crazy discounting of recent time. Now RIM is writing off $485 million in leftover stock because it doesn't think it can recoup it in sales. Ouch.

The company's announcement today came in anticipation of its looming December 15th earnings report. In financial jargon, RIM is "recording a pre-tax provision" of $485 million. In real normal human words, they've got warehouses full of unsold PlayBooks — and it the company is waving goodbye to half a bilion dollars because it doesn't think it can shift its stock.

RIM does plan to continue its aggressive pricing discounts to move units. But even with a week or so at $200 a pop, only 150,000 PlayBooks were sold in the third quarter of 2011. They'll be up against if if they're planning to get rid of them all.

It's not a retreat, though. RIM claim to be "committed to the BlackBerry PlayBook" and believe "the tablet market is still in its infancy." Looks like this setback isn't enough to put them off entirely, then. At least not until it can put a native email client in its business tablet.

The upside to all this? We can hold out hope for a PlayBook firesale in the near future. So if you want to bag yourself a so-so tablet, you might want to wait and see how low the prices drop.

Oh and one more interesting little nugget from the report to round things off: the BlackBerry outage earlier in the year seems to have cost RIM $50 million. That was a fairly expensive mistake. [RIM via The Verge]