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RIM's unsold inventory of BlackBerrys, PlayBooks swells to $1B value

Last quarter, Research in Motion's backlog of unsold BlackBerry handsets and PlayBook tablets grew to more than $1 billion in value, underscoring the company's struggles to sell its products.

RIM's total inventory last quarter grew to $1.03 billion, up from $618 million a year earlier, as noted by Bloomberg on Tuesday. RIM's inventory is more than twice what it was in 2008, when the company was still a major threat to Apple's iOS mobile platform, as well as Google's Android.

The inventory total held by RIM doesn't include smartphones and tablets that are also being held unsold by retailers and carriers around the world. It's expected that RIM will be forced to write down its $1 billion stockpile of unsold devices.

Last December, RIM was already forced to take a $485 million charge on unsold PlayBook touchscreen tablets. The company also initiated a fire sale of the device for as little as $199 in an effort to spur sales.

Tuesday's report included comment from analyst Neeraj Monga of Toronto-based Veritas Investment Research, who said RIM's inventory levels are not dropping despite the number of writedowns from the company. "Clearly this stuff isn't selling," he said.

The bad news continues to mount for RIM, as the company announced on Monday that it will ax nearly 40 percent of its workforce in the coming months. In addition, RIM Chief Legal Officer Karima Bawa announced this week that she will resign from the company.

RIM's co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie stepped down from their co-CEO positions in January and were replaced by former Chief Operating Officer Thorsten Heins. The new CEO initially said he did not foresee a major shakeup in the company's near future.

RIM has placed its hopes on the company's forthcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system, which is scheduled to launch later this year. Earlier this month, RIM provided developers with a pre-release prototype BlackBerry 10 device to write software for the upcoming platform.