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RIM denies shutdown of Playbook

Research in Motion is denying a report that it has stopped production of its Blackberry Playbook tablets. The rumors began today via a Barron's report. It quoted a note from Collins Stewart chip analyst John Vinh who claimed that the manufacturing company Quanta "has essentially halted production of the tablet. Additionally, our due diligence indicates that (RIM) has canceled development of additional tablet projects."

However InformationWeek has received a response from RIM. In its statement the company said, "RIM doesn't typically comment on rumors, but any suggestion that the BlackBerry PlayBook is being discontinued is pure fiction. RIM remains highly committed to the tablet market."

The 7-inch Blackberry Playbook, first launched in April 2011, has not been a sales success for RIM nor has the tablet generated favorable reviews. The company said earlier this year that 500,000 units were shipped in the first fiscal quarter of 2011. However it admitted earlier this month that it had only shipped 200,000 Playbooks in its most recent second fiscal quarter, well below expectations. RIM executives said at the time they planned to stick with selling the Playbook and would try to lower its cost via rebates and other deals.

Today, Best Buy lowered the price of the Playbook down $200 for all three models of the tablet, making the cheapest (16 GB) version priced at $299. A few days ago Staples started selling the 16 GB version for $299 but that price includes a $100 rebate via a Visa pre-pay card; Best Buy's price cut comes with no such restrictions.

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