It’s a recession people, and in a recession the name of the game is to keep sales as steady as possible while reducing costs as much as possible. For countless companies this means unloading employees but as RIM’s market share continues to surge, the Canadian handset maker is taking a different approach; use its solid sales to squeeze better prices out of its suppliers. Based on iSuppli’s estimates, BlackBerrys do have a fairly substantial cost to RIM with the Bold running the company approximately $170 per unit and the Storm running about $203 per unit. Considering the volume we’re dealing with here, if RIM can knock even a few pennies off the cost of certain parts the result will be huge. RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie stated recently that the company’s efforts to lower costs will be felt this quarter, meaning it is already making some good headway. We can only hope that reduced cost doesn’t translate into reduced quality — it would be hard to find even the most avid BlackBerry fanboy who would deny that BlackBerry devices don’t exactly top the charts where build quality is concerned. If suppliers are forced to lower their prices to accommodate pressure from RIM, something has to give lest they eat into their own profits.
BusinessWeek has managed to get its hands on a teardown of the BlackBerry Bold and it looks like RIM has yet another reason to be upset about the ever-delayed AT&T release: huge margins. While the Bold is currently available in many markets around the world, RIM’s largest market, the US, is still in limbo. New information suggests that said delays may be costing RIM more money than we think. Self-proclaimed market intelligence firm iSuppli is known for pretty spot-on teardown analyses and after picking apart RIM’s Bold it came up with a number: $169.41. That number represents RIM’s estimated cost per unit from material sourcing to manufacturing to assembly. By comparison, iSuppli estimates Apple’s cost per unit of the iPhone 3G to be $174.33 which would make the likelihood of a competitive AT&T-subsidized price on the Bold very likely. Prior estimates had placed RIM’s cost on the Bold at a higher figure which lead to a bit of speculation that AT&T’s Bold pricing might come in a bit high for certain potential customers. Hopefully this new number is closer to reality and we can all hope for a contract price right around $200.