“Send 270,000 tablets to Best Buy, not have them sell well and instead of supporting your product with better advertising and offers you simply cancel the line.
This is the problem with corporations today. No instant profit? Let's move onto something else then.”
Or releasing products that aren’t ready. In most of the reviews I read, the reviewer said there were a few niggles that really needed to ironed up (and these were people that thought it had potential and could be a winner). Also, there was a lack of available apps? What was the incentive for consumer to commit to a product and platform that is unproven and has issues? Particularly when there is a market leader (whether or not it deserves to be is another matter) like the iPad that's at a similar price point?
It’s a little like RIM releasing the PlayBook when it isn’t able to used with for email (a function that RIM is synonymous with) unless you hook it up to a BlackBerry. Some of my mates manage retail stores and when they’ve had RIM sales representatives trying to push the PlayBook, who were asked questions such as ‘So when is email capability going to be added?’, the answer has been a vague ‘in the future.’ This, I'm reliably informed, doesn't make it a selling point to customers.
As a recent ElReg article reported, the vast majority of punters are only interested, for better or worse, in an iPad. If you worked in retail and someone came in for an iPad, you’re going to have a hard job pushing them towards something else – particularly, if they’ve done a little research and have heard there are issues.
As for giving it time, according to the AllThingsD article, Best Buy had lost patience – when there has been significant price cuts (in the case of the entry model, 20%) and the thing ain’t shifting, you know you’re trying to sell a pup. As that article said, the 25,000 sales figure might be “charitable” and it’s unlikely that those figures are net of returns. In Europe, around 12,000 have been shifted.
It’s public knowledge that Best Buy couldn’t sell the things and when a retailer that size can’t at that reduced price point (and neither could Amazon), do you think there are going to be lots of other outlets ready to pick up the gauntlet?
Now when Staples had a voucher that could get you another $100 off, they sold out – but this took the price to $299 or $399, depending on which model you went for. However, according to this article - http://www.devicemag.com/2011/07/04/hp-touchpad-costs-307-to-make-3g-ipad-2-built-for-less/ - each Touchpad cost $307 to make. Assuming this is roughly correct, take in how R&D, associated costs to get it to market and how much retailers will expect to make, you just can’t make money at the price point they were fyling off the Staples sheleves.
Personally, I don’t think giving it time would have worked – the device needed a far better introduction; consumers aren’t that patient and will remember teething problems. Another Apple device is worth thinking about – the Newton. It shipped when the handwriting recognition didn’t work (as famously parodied on The Simpsons), this was soon sorted out, but it kept the reputation of being a dog - one that Jobs would put down when he returned to Apple, but in the meantime, one that consumers didn’t want to take home. There were other reasons, but people don't want to but pricey kit that holds future promise.