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RIM slashes price of PlayBook for Rogers employees, sign of things to come?

Well, Research In Motion’s co-CEO Mike Lazaridis did say this week that the company was looking at the possibility of offering rebates, various types of deals and, well, whatever it takes to shift some of those PlayBook tablets.

And now it looks as if some of those plans are being implemented. According to a BGR report on Friday, RIM is offering the PlayBook at a heavily discounted price to employees of Canadian cell phone carrier Rogers, a long-time partner of the consumer electronics company. Could it be that RIM executives are testing the water, with a possible substantial price cut for every Tom, Dick and Harry on the horizon?

The internal sale at Rogers started on Wednesday and will continue until December 1. Any Rogers employee wanting to take home a PlayBook tablet will be able to get a discount of up to a whopping 50 percent off the regular price.

So let’s take a closer look at the kind of deal workers at Rogers are being offered.

The 16GB model, which usually goes for $499.99 in Canada (about US$511), can be taken away for just $249. The 32GB version is being offered for $349 (instead of the usual $599.99), while the 64GB can be picked up for $399, down from $699.99.

The sale began a day before RIM released its latest quarterly report, the results of which were far below what the company had been hoping for. The poor figures were partly as a result of the PlayBook’s struggle to get a foothold in a tablet market dominated by Apple’s iPad. RIM only managed to ship 20,000 units in the last quarter, far fewer than had been predicted by the Ontario-based company.

Of course, RIM isn’t the only company battling with poor tablet sales. Hewlett-Packard ended production of its TouchPad device last month due to disappointing sales, Samsung is thought to have started poorly with its 7-inch Galaxy Tab, and on Thursday Sharp announced it was ending the production of two of its three Galapagos devices.

It’s not known how Rogers employees have responded to RIM’s offer, but if it proves popular there’s a chance it could be pushed out to all consumers. That would certainly stir things up a bit in the increasingly competitive tablet market.

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Trevor Mogg
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