RIM Slashes Playbook Prices … To Free?

Research In Motion has gotten desperate in trying to move the piles of unsold Playbooks. There is now an across-the-board price drop of $100, $100 retailer rebates and/or gift cards with purchase, and a $100 coupon that is being offered in the United States. That means – depending on the model and how hard you are willing to work for your discount – that you can now get RIM’s much-unloved tablet for either two or three hundred dollars off the original price.

Unless, of course, you live in Europe where RIM’s telecom partners will be giving the thing away for free when you buy a Blackberry and a contract. This actually makes sense, considering that the Playbook doesn’t really do anything useful without a companion Blackberry. But it’s a pretty terrible strategy for making actual money.

Will Playbooks finally fly off the shelves at this almost-but-not-quite-as-low-as-the-Touchpad price? Will they fly off the shelves for free? Or are these questions moot at this point? Perhaps the real question is this: Is the Playbook “failing” or “failed”?

It’s really a sad and vexing state of affairs. The Playbook could have been so good, but an excellent operating system and some impressive hardware specs were torpedoed by RIM’s insistence at keeping its corporate head buried in the sands of the 1990s.

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