Rimm Analyst: Blackberry's Playbook Is "Dead on Arrival"


Clients of Wedge Partners (an independent equity analysis firm that focuses on the technology and media industries) received a scathing note this morning on RIM from firm principal Brian Blair.

After the analyst reviewed the company's tablet, the RIMM PlayBook, he announced that the playbook will be poor received by the market." I caught up with Blair after the note was released.

LL: You say in your report this am it is Dead on Arrival, why?

BB: Because it will be sharply inferior to other tablets on the market and consumers won't buy it.

LL: What was the biggest disappointment?

BB: Needing to tether it a blackberry for email, calendar and address book.

LL: If this is a miss, how costly will this be to RIM ?

BB: Significant because of the r & d, manufacturing and marketing costs that will go down The drain.

LL: What you mean by significant? can you quantify a number? How big of a loss?

BB: Can't put a number on it without knowing what RIMM has spent in R&D and what they WILL spend on marketing. But new product development, production and related rollout and marketing costs can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

LL: What kind of business adoption rate are you expecting?

BB: Minimal. They are targeting it at enterprise but I believe very few will actually roll it out widely.

LL: When this officially rolls out and if it is poorly received, how much of an impact will it have on the stock?

BB: It will definitely have a negative impact as much if the recent run up into the low $60s was based on the positive reception of the PlayBook and the accompanying OS as well as aggressive street estimates, some suggesting 6 million units in the first year.

LL: Are unrealistic expectations of the PlayBook baked into the stock?

BB: Definitely. I think the 6 million units is unrealistic and that kind of optimism has helped drive up the price in recent months.

LL: If you could use one word to describe this product, what would it be?

BB: Misguided.

LL: What makes Apple king is the Apps. Blackberry has been lagging in this area. Do you see anything down the pipeline to suggest anything different?

BB: No, developers aren't interested in Blackberry generally. Can't really play games on blackberry, difficult to get apps on the devices and no easy payment mechanism. Also, numerous screen sizes so developers have to write multiple versions of an app.

Disclosure: Blair nor his family or company own the stock. RIMM is not a client. Blair nor his family, or company own AAPL. AAPL is not a client


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