Seeing as Motorola has not yet told the world how many Xoom tablets have sold, it is leaving a lot of room for people to speculate. First it was analysts at Deutsche Bank who figured out that 100,000 units had sold in the first 40 days by looking at developer statistics. And now it is an analyst from Global Equities who puts the Xoom in the range of 25,000 to 120,000.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I want to be an analyst because apparently you can just make things up.
Yes, it’s clear that Motorola hasn’t sold as many Xooms as it hoped as some estimates say the initial production run was between 500,000 to 800,000. No reports are coming close to those numbers, so it’s probably getting safe to say the Xoom has not lived up to expectations, but how can you take Trip Chowdry of Global Equities seriously when he gives such a massive range in his numbers? Usually when you see a poll on the news it says the margin of error is plus or minus four to six percent, not … okay, I’m not good at match, but when the lower number isn’t even a quarter of the higher number, your margin is way too high.
Mr. Chowdry goes on in his report to suggest that perhaps Motorola should just give up on the Xoom and take up being a patent troll. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, it’s when a company with numerous patents makes a living from suing companies that may have violated them. It leads to a ton of lawsuits, and a whole lot of settlements to make the cases go away. Mr. Chowdy is so serious about this concept that he even provided a handy chart of which companies Motorola should go after and how deeply they should engage them.
While some predictions had the Xoom selling three million units this year, it definitely looks like it will fall short. For whatever reason, I’m still unwilling to call the device a “flop”, “dud” or a “bomb” as so many others have. I’ve spent a few days with a review unit, and while I didn’t like it as much as my iPad, it was decent enough and certainly not a horrible product. I do think the Xoom would have been better served waiting a little while longer for release to see the Android Honeycomb OS receive a bit more polish, and launching without the 4G functioning was a definite mistake, but are these reasons for Motorola to follow Mr. Chowdy’s advice of giving up the fight and turning into a patent troll company? I certainly don’t think so.
At the end of the day, I highly doubt Motorola is going to take the advice of this analyst report, and I hope they don’t. The Xoom is finding its legs, and while it may not be the best tablet the company ever produces, it’s a good start. Going down the patent troll path just leads to ill will for a company on many fronts, and it’s not one you easily recover from.
What do you think? Has the Xoom failed? Should Motorola give up the ghost?