Featured: Analyst claims that RIM sold 250,000 Playbooks in a month, beating Android tablets

A few weeks ago there was an "analyst" named Trip Chowdry from Global Equities Research that famously claimed that the Motorola Xoom had sold only 25,000 units. Or was it 120,000? See, he wasn't really sure because he only called a grand total of 21 stores to find out how the device was selling. From these 21 phone calls he was able to determine that the Xoom was a massive, mega flop. 

Well, Motorola showed him. They announced in their quarterly results that they had shipped 250,000 Xoom tablets. Or did they sell 250,000? Does shipped mean sold?

Anyway, another week, another big fat guess. This time Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets posits that the Blackberry Playbook has sold an amazing 250,000 tablets in it's first month on the market. If accurate, reaching that mark in half the time that it took Motorola to move 250,000 Xoom tablets.


"Checks at 180 Best Buys show 14% of the 16GB sold out, 71% of the 32GB sold out, and 84% of the 64GB sold out; however, 32GB/64B stockouts appear allocation-related."

Totally Made Up Numbers
Note at the end of the quote that it says "stockouts appear allocation related". What does that mean? Well, in plain English it means that though Mr Abramsky called 180 Best Buy stores and 84% reported that they had sold out of the 64GB Playbook, 0% gave him the exact number that were shipped to their store. He guessed.

My Own Guess
Let's put aside the fact that RIM hasn't even released the number of Playbooks that were stuffed in to the channel in that first month. We'll assume that they shipped 300,000 to stores like Staples and Best Buy.


The more telling number in this whole guess-a-thon circle-jerk is the 14% sellout rate of the 16GB Playbook. Doing some quick math and making an allowance for the other sizes, I'll assume that 60% of those tablets were 16GB, 20% were 32GB and 20% were 64GB. I'm going to guess that RIM sold 42,219 tablets in the first month of Playbook availability, falling far short of the Motorola Xoom.

There, now I'm an analyst.

It's not that it's unheard of for an analyst to toss out a number and be somewhat close to right. It happens. But Mike Abramsky? I'll allow that the guy has a pretty good guesser rating, but he also has a history of favoring RIM with his analysis.


Judgement Day?
RIM reports results again in June and I'll lay odds right now that they report total shipments and not total sales for their do-nothing Playbook. It's the exact same delay tactic that Motorola used with Xoom numbers and it would buy RIM another quarter to right the ship.

250,000 Playbooks? I guess we'll just have to stay tuned, but you can mark me down as a big fat non-believer.

Independent Analyst?
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. There's a little detail about the firm that Mike Abramsky shills for. RBC Venture Partners is a fund manager in the Blackberry Partners Fund. What's the Blackberry Partners Fund you ask?


What is the Fund?
The BlackBerry Partners Fundâ„¢ is a $150 million venture capital fund to be focused on applications and services for the BlackBerry® platform and other mobile platforms including mobile commerce (payments, advertising, retailing and banking), vertical and horizontal enterprise applications, communications, social networking, location-based applications and services (navigation and mapping), media and entertainment, and lifestyle and personal productivity applications. The Fund will consider all stages of development and is to be co-managed by JLA Ventures and RBC Venture Partners.

RBC Venture Partners and RBC Capital Markets are both a part of the Royal Bank of Canada, and while they may be separate fingers of the firm they are attached to the same hand.

I'm not saying that this little $150 million fact would in any way cause a conflict of interest for Mr. Abramsky. Further, I am in no way insinuating that the analysis of RIM by RBC guesser types is bought and paid for by the Blackberry Partner Fund. Rather, I'm sure his opinions are his own and not influenced in any way by the funds that his firm is paid to manage.


Then again, I didn't see any disclosure statement that points out this conflict of interest either.


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Senior Writer

I'm a 40 something early adopter of all things technology. I was first in line to buy both my original Verizon Droid and my Apple iPad 1. I don't hate your phone or tablet choice, but I've probably got an opinion about it. Aside from my family, the only things that I love more than a new gadget are fly fishing and going to the ballpark. Ocassionaly I find a way to blog about both. Though I'm only one more Foxconn story away from being fired, I've been writing for Android Headlines since March 2011.

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