Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

Summary: Numbers, numbers, numbers. One of the first things I do in the morning is scan through all my incoming feeds looking for numbers. And this morning an interesting set of numbers caught my eye.


Numbers, numbers, numbers. One of the first things I do in the morning is scan through all my incoming feeds looking for numbers. And this morning an interesting set of numbers caught my eye.

Analyst: 25,000 to 120,000 Xooms sold. Motorola's survival at risk

The numbers are courtesy of Global Equities' analyst Trip Chowdry.

The first thing that struck me about these particular numbers was the broad range - 25,000 to 120,000. A range that itself is an order of magnitude sounds more to me like a guess than an estimate. There's no data to back up this 'estimate,' and no indication given as to how the numbers were arrived at.

Note: From my RSS feed it seems that Elmer-DeWitt had originally posted a range of 15,000 to 120,000 before later changing the headline.

OK, so first off, do these numbers represent reality? Simple answer is that I don't know. I assume Motorola knows, but at present no one from Motorola is talking numbers.

In that case, do the numbers matter? After all, if you take a trip over to Amazon.com you find that the Xoom  is ranked #1 bestseller for 'Tablets,' #2 bestseller for 'Computers & Accessories' and has the #2 spot rating for tablets with 4.2 stars (current #1 is the Asus Eee Slate).

So, can a product occupy good positions on the sales rankings over on Amazon and still have tanked? Well, again, that's possible. When most people think of tablets they are thinking about the iPad, which has captured a massive share of the market, so everyone else with a tablet is left scrabbling around for tidbits.

I don't think that we have enough information to say that Xoom has tanked, but that said, I don't think that sales have been stellar either. Being #1 on Amazon doesn't make you #1 overall. And I don't see a single tablet on the horizon (no, not even Sony's latest offerings) presenting a threat to the iPad.

One thing's for sure, Xoom is no iPad killer.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Mobility

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  • But it's not an iPad

    <ul><I>I assume Motorola knows</I></ul>Motorola may just now be finding out. They know how many they've shipped to Verizon, Best Buy, etc., but the larger that number is, the more likely it is that the resellers have a contractual right to send them back if consumers don't buy them.

    I'm dubious about the methodology of that Deutsche Bank memo that said "100,000", so if this esimate is just another re-run of the Deutsche Bank article, it's pretty ho-hum. If this is a second guy who came at the problem from a different direction and also got "around 100,000" I'd start worrying for Motorola.

    It may sound incredibly unlikely to people that sales could be this bad for Motorola when iPads are flying off the shelves, but that is exactly what many computer companies experienced in the early days of the IBM PC. Sometimes one product from one company so captures the public's imagination that well-known and substantial vendors are treated as if their products didn't exist. I'm not saying that's what is happening here, but it might be.
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

      @Robert Hahn You mean like Apple with their GUI back in the early 80's right? How did that work for them?
      • For the big shall be small, and the small big

        @Peter Perry
        Apple was not a "well-known, substantial company" in the early 80's. Neither were Compaq and Dell. It turns that they were better situated to ride out the storm than that era's large computer companies. A level of sales that looked great to startups like Apple and Dell meant death to companies the size of Digital and Wang.

        We may see the same thing here: it may not be the Motorolas and Samsungs that stay in the business; the eventual winners may be companies that today can survive on 100,000 units and think it's great.
        Robert Hahn
      • RE: Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

        @Robert Hahn are you kidding me? Those Apples were in every school, people knew who they were and they were selling as many as the IBM's in the early days... Hell, because of them IBM realized they couldn't ignore the personal computer market any longer!

        I know it is easy to claim they weren't very well known because it makes the failure easier to swallow but for the Computer Industry at the time, there were few making a larger impact!
      • RE: Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

        @Peter Perry - Many large businesses waited to see what IBM was going to do before making the jump to computers over typewriters, since Big Blue was the business standard. While Apple had a lot going for it at the time - first and second major market computers with GUI interfaces and built-in (albeit it extremely slow) networking - many in the business world remembered the Apple III for its hardware failures and assumed that the more expensive Lisa and the later Mac systems could have similar issues.

        You also have to consider that between 1981 and 1984, Apple had released a total of 4 operating systems - DOS/ProDOS on the Apple II series, SOS for the Apple III, LisaOS, and MacOS. While we can look back and see which two were going to survive into the 1990s, nothing was set in stone at that point in time, especially with as quickly as Apple turned over executive management. IBM had three choices for the OS - CP/M, MS-DOS, and UNIX - but by the time clone makers got into the game, it was pretty obvious which one of those would dominate the market in the years to come.
      • More like the iPod in the 2000's.

        @Peter Perry
        A better analogy would be more like the iPod in the 2000's. "Champ_kind" is correct with regard to IBM's influence on computers back in the early 80's. The only reason Microsoft DOS / Windows was successful at the time was due to IBM's endorsement. It wasn't until the late 80's that companies began to realize that the only thing IBM about the IBM PC was the 4k BIOS and that was reverse engineered by Pheonix technologies. It soon became obvious the market was generic and IBM no longer mattered. Anyway, the point here was that nobody, including Apple was very successful in competing with IBM in the early 80's. Consumers are much more willing to switch brands in today's computing environment, especially as the paradigm shifts to mobile in the "post PC era".

        @ Robert Hahn:
        Huh? Apple was very well known and a substantial player in the early 80's. They pioneered the home computer. They just weren't accepted in business as IBM was. People at home also wanted to use the machine they were accustomed to at work.
    • RE: Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

      @Robert Hahn
      The thing is the xoom isnt the ipad but a much better unit then the ipad could hope to be. the problem lies in the prices. Apple buyers don't care about value for thier dollar they want what Steve Jobs tells them to buy. Side by side the Xoom is leap years better then the ipad but its being pushed to everyday working people and at that price it makes no sense. the units would have to be top line at $4500 and baselined at $299 for it to attrract the working class. then its tied to verizon who has some of the highest priced plans around. Great coverage but ridiulously high costs. This should e an open unit both gsm and cdema to allow buyers to find a plan that suits thier finaces.I have been to many verizon stores to be told they only have dummy models as they get charged over $1000 for a real working unit bought from motoroloa. The crazy price, high data verizon plans, no working displays all make this great unit just not plausible. Makers have to understand the tablet is a secondary or third device and it has to fit that sector. A super laptop i5 processor costs $450 new a smartphone is $200 with contract the tablet has to fall in between and it has to share data plans with one or the other as if it is forced to have it's own people will pass due to our current situation with a bad president and no relief in sight. For the non apple folks it has to be top value for my dollar which maybe just won't happen and a great idea will burn out.
      • Seriously.... most folk dont need a data plan or 3G.


        Just get the wifi version and forget 3G etc. Most folk have wifi at home, wifi at work and can find wifi on the road (for the small minority that really need it). Most tablets are based in one or two locations. Just go for wif, and tether to a mifi device OR moby for the odd accasion you need it.

        IMHO most families would survive with a tablet, or two and ONE mifi device. How many really need mobile comms and a data plan?????
      • What color is the sky in your world?

        [i]"Apple buyers don't care about value for thier dollar they want what Steve Jobs tells them to buy."[/i]

        Seriously, is this what Apple haters say to themselves before they go to sleep at night?

        [i]" Side by side the Xoom is leap years better then the ipad but its being pushed to everyday working people and at that price it makes no sense. "[/i]

        If by "leap years better", you mean heavier, thicker, slower, less battery life, worse screen quality, far fewer apps - especially tablet specific apps and a buggy OS, then sure...

        Most people that are actually buying tablets see this difference very clearly. However, this is the point where Apple's sales success is attributed entirely to their marketing department. Right? Sorry for taking the liberty of completing your argument for you. It's just the same sad tale spoken by those without a valid argument. We've all heard this before... next!
      • RE: Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

        @techconc I think you seriously over estimate the average consumer! Most are buying the I pad due to Hype or a friend has one and they want one too...

        As for the XOOM, 90% of the hardware is better in the XOOM and the Transformer than what is in the I pad 2 and at .2 oz it really isn't going to matter long term what they weigh.
      • RE: Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

        I think the crappy reviews that the Xoom is getting has more to do with the tanking sales, rather than the BS you just made up.
      • RE: Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

        @Peter Perry - It's not about mega-pixel-this or SD-Card that - you're talking about hardware in a software fight. The Xoom and the iPad2 are essentially the same from a hardware perspective. Both are a glass capacitative touchscreen powered by dual-core Arm processors. The difference in pixels or clockspeed or storage capacity is inconsequential to the normal person. What is different is the OS that drives them and more importantly, the ecosystem of apps, services, and accessories that define what a person can actually DO with the devices that is lightyears apart. For music, show me anything even close to Garageband, or Korg iMS-20, or Rebirth or iElectribe on the Xoom. There MIGHT be a crap wannabe free beatbox app some kid wrote over a weekend but it will be a Froyo app that looks like crap running on a tablet. The iPad has all 4 and they are truly amazing pro music creation apps. You know ones that bands like Gorillaz used to produce their last album on. Show me anything close to Numbers, Pages, and Keynote. Nope you can't, because Microsoft isn't porting Office to Android anytime soon and Google isn't up to the task. How about iMovie for editing HD movies. Sorry, Xoom just doesn't have it or anything in the same class really. How about the best 3D games from id or EA or Rockstar? Or Turbotax or The Elements, or Netflix, yada yada yada... Nobody cares that the Xoom has a SD Card slot (disabled until who knows when by the way) when you have an adapter for the iPad that actually works. Or it has more pixels or whatever. At the end of the day all you can do with a Xoom is browse the web and pat yourself on the back that at least those Flash ads are showing up, even if they are a little choppy. While the iPad has a million other things going for it. Android has no clothes on in the tablet space where carrier deals and subsidies don't matter and voice calls aren't the killer app. We'll see how this plays out over time but Apple is mopping the floor with the other guys right now. It's not even close.
  • RE: Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

    Remember, the early 125k estimate was before the wifi only version shipped... Everyday on the XOOM Forums or the Moto forums new XOOM owners are appearing and for the most part they're happy...

    Motorola Estimated 300k units in the first quarter, I would bet they're on pace for that number.

    As for competitors to the iPad 2, there are several that are more capable (EeePad Transformer rolls today) and still cost less out the door... Do I think these tablets will be the top dog? Probably not, but if you get enough of them they could easily outsell the iPad as a collective.
  • it won't gain steam until it becomes 'far' more usable

    Right now there appears to be little reason to buy a Xoom outside of not wanting to be locked up within the confines of Apple; your average end-user isn't going to care about the politics behind a given offering...they just want something that does what they need it to and works well. Apple mostly delivers this in spades.

    The Xoom appears to have amazing potential. The hardware comes across as very well-designed but (as I own the Wifi-only) Android 3.0 crashes and reboots itself, spits errors and lands in 'safe mode' far too often and I'm betting that the word is out much farther now, beyond the techies' boards. Now, I may have gotten a lemon, but I am dead serious when I say Honeycomb right now feels like Windows ME for a tablet, and that may even scare off a few of the die-hard non-Apple first-adopters, at least those who don't plan to root their devices. Run Away...Run Away!!! Low sales numbers? I'm not surprised.

    I knew what I was getting into when I bought one, this being the first real attempt at competition for the iPad and Honeycomb being a 'new' OS but it has been really testing my patience. Unfortunately, even if they fix the problems they may have missed their opportunity for great sales before the rest of the pack catches up.
    • RE: Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

      @Venator000 I am glad that my Xoom doesn't have the problems that you are talking about, and I have more uses than I care to counted which is why I use it about 5 hours a day, more than my laptop by far.
    • RE: Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

      @Venator000 I think you need to change that device my friend... I have apps that act up but never the OS.

      Crud, I wonder if many of the evals weren't from a bad batch considering some had issues and others did hot with the core OS.
  • RE: Did Motorola Xoom sales really tank?

    I have the new wi-fi only version of the Xoom and have not experienced any safe mode or reboots. Biggest problem is a lot of the apps are not up to snuff yet. Have several appls that crash, but not the Xoom itself. Improvement will come in time. Many apps work perfectly depending on who programed them. Many apps are designed for the phone size screen.
    Plus side: was easy to get started with and connect to wi-fi. Once logged into Google, opens up a useful network and sharing with PC. Loved it during a day in a waiting room. Can connect to my PC with RDT program at home and work. log on to my bank, pay bills, take care of email, read using Kindle and Nook, can scan a pdf. I cannot wait to replace a laptop with my Xoom on a motorcycle trip where space is premium.
    Yes, I jumped into buying it. Did not want the Apple Lock. Motorola has always been solid. I am 90% happy at this point and discovering more about it. Is my first Android experience since I do not own a smart phone.
    • Well said.....

      With all the hype on ipad and iphone all the zealots forget to mention a few key things that affect us business users in the real world.

      a) You cant simply plug SD cards in and watch movies etc.
      b) You're tethered to YOUR itunes account and it cunningly wipes it if you attach to another. True you get it back when you synch on your own again... still rubbish though!
      c) iPhone = 12 hours on Bluetoooth and 3G with very little call time. Thats simply not good enough. Yes I can switch off 3G till I really need it but why would I want the hassle?

      Good luck with the Android, and I hope it works out for you. I'm keen on the acer transformer for mixed use (if its my cash) OR the BB playbook if the company will buy it for business use. My ipad is a pain with its secure email app and extra passwords.... shame nobody listens to that grumble either, or mentions it on the Apple advertising machine (zdnet) :-)
  • Robert Hahn and the history of PCs

    Someone is rewriting history here, and not making the best job of it either. Apple didn't 'fail' in the 1980's, neither did its GUI. Apple Mac continued to grow a loyal customer base who wouldn't EVER switch to PC, and its GUI, as we know, was slavishly copied by Bill Gates (if you don't think he copied it, you don't know what really happened) so in both its Mac format and as Windows that GUI succeeded brilliantly.

    What you may be referring to is that Mac became a niche player when compared to the PC world. This is true, even though 'niche' doesn't mean 'small' here, Apple was in the $billion class even though it only held a small % of the market.

    What is true is that the PC market grew enormously and left Mac volumes trailing well behind. The reason for this had nothing to do with PCs being 'better' than Macs, and everything to do with 3 little letters... I B M.

    IBM legitimized the PC to corporate America. Almost the whole growth in the market was initially the result of corporates buying truckloads of PCs. Did they consider Macs at the time and make a decision to go with PC after due consideration? Of course not. They bought what IBM told them to buy. IBM PCs. IBM dragged along Microsoft since that was the only OS IBM approved, and in due course all the compatible vendors (Dell et al) had to specify Microsoft or they wouldn't be compatible. Microsoft didn't 'win' against Apple, though they did become huge and profitable on the back of IBM.

    Apple didn't cave in, throw away its jewels, build IBM compatibles and start competing for this huge corporate business. It stayed its course, and took the difficult route of continuing to make its own alternative offering of hardware and software.

    Some might say that history has proven them right. Here we are today, IBM had disappeared from the PC market, all the compatible beige box folks are floundering with single digit profits and beating each other up on cost (they have no other differentiator), Microsoft hasn't ever succeeded again in the way it did whilst riding IBM's horse.

    And where does that leave Apple? Just as in the 80's, Apple is the only large vendor making both its own hardware and software, and I think we may say that after 30 years it looks as though this approach is, at last, paying off. You've got to credit Apple for sticking to its guns.
    • Dup

      Deleting duplicate post
      Robert Hahn