updated 10:40 pm EDT, Tue August 16, 2011
HP may have sold 9pc of Touch Pads at Best Buy
HP may be having serious trouble selling the TouchPad at Best Buy. New leaks from internal HP reports claim that Best Buy has taken 270,000 of the webOS tablets so far but has sold only 25,000 so far, just 9.3 percent of its stock. The retail chain hasn't independently confirmed it, but corroborating AllThingsD sources claimed that the result was not only logical but might even be "charitable" as it omits refunds.
The sales rate may be so low that Best Buy is refusing to pay for inventory and triggering a possible revolt. HP is purportedly sending an envoy as high up as Personal Systems Group executive VP Todd Bradley on a direct visit to Best Buy's Minneapolis headquarters to assuage its management.
Other retailers may be facing their own problems. Envisioneering Group analyst Rich Doherty claimed that spot checks at Fry's, Microcenter, and Walmart have produced little reaction. HP's typical practice in PCs, of periodic and rapid price cuts, may have backfired. Buyers are deliberately holding off, since they think HP might cut prices again before long, he said.
HP hasn't commented on the claims and may try to downplay the TouchPad's performance in quarterly results due Wednesday. It might not have to as sales could be low enough to be immaterial from a fiscal reporting perspective. Officials may talk only about shipments and decline to talk about sell-through, or the tablets actually reaching customers.
The details if true would corroborate stories of non-iPad tablets seeing considerably fewer sales than shipments and could significantly derail HP's strategy. Long-term plans see PCs dual-booting webOS, but a customer rejection of the OS could see a rethink and little gain from having bought Palm in 2010. It may also create a large gap among analysts calculating market share, as many of these don't account for real sales and may see HP get considerably more share than owed.
Sluggish performance would come in spite of much kinder words about the TouchPad now that its performance and features have been given a significant boost with an over-the-air update.