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RIM cuts PlayBook prices as boardroom shakeup looms

04 Jan 2012
PlayBook displaying Northern Rail train information

Research in Motion (RIM) has slashed prices for its PlayBook tablet amid speculation on the future of the company's corporate structure.

The company's US site on Tuesday announced a price cut that will run until 4 February. The special offer will reduce the cost of the 64GB PlayBook tablet from $699 to just $299.

The 16GB and 32GB models will also carry the $299 price tag, having previously been priced at $499 and $599 respectively.

The PlayBook was launched in June 2011, and is a major part of RIM's plan to overhaul and modernise its BlackBerry mobile platform. However, sales have fallen woefully short of the company's expectations.

RIM's smartphone operation has fared little better. Sluggish sales in the face of increased competition from the iOS, Android and Windows Phone platforms have pushed RIM's stock to historic lows and put shareholders on edge.

The Canadian company's poor performance could soon lead to a major shakeup for the company's board of directors. Canada's Financial Post yesterday cited sources within the company in reporting that co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie will relinquish their roles as chairmen of RIM's board.

RIM's leadership has been called into question by investors and industry pundits, with some calling for the company to break up its mobile hardware and communications services into separate firms.

Rob Enderle, founder and principal analyst for the Enderle Group, suggested Lazaridis and Balsillie's days at the company may be numbered.

"The firm is in a spiral and will need to make some dramatic changes to pull out at this point," Enderle told V3.

"They seem to be setting up for just such an event but it is too early to tell how extensive it will be."

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Shaun Nichols
About

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for V3.co.uk. He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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