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Monday March 7, 2011 6:12 pm

RIM chief marketing officer leaves right before Playbook launch


Posted by Andru Edwards - Categories: Corporate News


RIM might be close to making its tablet debut with its upcoming Playbook, but there's one thing that won't be accompanying this device to the market: an ongoing chief marketing officer.

A spokeswoman for RIM told PCMag that chief marketing officer Keith Pardy was leaving "for personal reasons," as first reported in the Wall Street Journal last Friday.

Pardy will continue working at RIM for six months to help with the transition. Furthermore, Pardy shared the news internally a month ago.

RIM poached Pardy from Nokia in late 2009. The departure now leaves RIM without an executive on top mere weeks before the company is expected to launch its flagship Playbook table—either in late March or early April, depending on which batch of rumors you subscribe to. However, according to IHS iSuppli analyst Rhoda Alexander, the executive departure isn't likely to affect the Playbook's launch.


"Hopefully, when you're weeks away from product release, you've laid most of the groundwork for the marketing efforts," said Alexander in an interview with Reuters. "Others can execute the groundwork that's been laid out."

Although RIM still enjoys considerable success amongst U.S. smartphone owners—it's currently tied with Apple for a 27 percent market share, says The Neilsen Company--jumping into the Apple-focused tablet market is another battle entirely. According to the latest figures from Strategy Analytics, Apple cruised to a 95.5-percent tablet market share in the third quarter of 2010 before dropping to 75.3 percent in the fourth quarter. Over all of 2010, however, Apple commanded 84.1 percent of the tablet market, with Android-based devices barely making a dent at 13.1 percent.

A total of 9.7 million tablet devices sold globally made up the aforementioned fourth-quarter statistics. That's an important number, because Digitimes has reported that RIM allegedly expects to sell one million playbooks in the first quarter of 2011. Pretending, for a moment, that those sales occurred in the fourth quarter of 2010, one million Playbooks sold would have put the RIM at a market share of 9.35 percent.

But remember, by the time the RIM Playbook's launch rolls around, it will be staring down the barrel of two of the market's fiercest competitors: Apple's iPad 2, and what's been heralded as the first true Android-based competitor to the iPad, Motorola's Xoom. With these two heavyweights duking it out, one million units sold for RIM's Playbook could be a difficult target to hit—and might not give RIM even ten percent market share in the aftermath.

This article, written by David Murphy, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc..

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