There has been some controversy flowing around the web, regarding rumors about Best Buy witholding sales of the iPad 2. Both Best Buy and Apple have apparently addressed these rumors.
The rumor was that Best Buy was holding back iPad 2 devices, even though they were in stock, and instructing employees to tell customers that they didn’t have any.
The root of the rumor appears to be from a tip sent to CrunchGear, by a Best Buy employee. Boy Genius Report claims to have actually obtained an internal communication delivered to all retail employees at a Best Buy store in California, which said:
“NewsFlash: ipads cannot be sold according to BBY. All ipads except for preorders MUST be held until further notice. Cant tell customers were holding them either.”
They also shared the following statement from Best Buy, saying:
“Best Buy continues to receive iPad 2 inventory from Apple on a regular basis. As we’ve said previously, we are fulfilling customer reservations first. Our stores have been asked to temporarily hold non-reserved iPad 2 inventory for an upcoming promotion. This is a customary practice for us when there are supply constraints. Best Buy enjoys a great partnership with Apple, and we’re delighted by customer response to iPad 2.”
CrunchGear’s original tipster sent an alleged note from Apple COO/acting CEO Tim cook, saying, “My understanding is most of their stores sold all of their initial supply on the first night of the launch and the balance were out by the following day. I am not aware of any units being held.”
It does seem a bit out of the norm that Cook would send such a note to some random Best Buy employee. Take from it what you will.
There has been talk about friction between the two companies, but there’s really no concrete evidence to back up such a notion, as far as I can tell.
iPad 2 sales have been estimated at 2.4-2.6 million for March, despite the somewhat strange lack of any official numbers from Apple.
The iPad 2 recently went on sale in 25 more countries, beyond the U.S. RadioShack also started selling the device. It’s even received high marks from Consumer Reports, after the organization blasted the iPhone 4 (both the AT&T and Verizon versions).