Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn backpedaled on his statement that the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs. According to Dunn, reports claiming a precipitous decline in notebook and netbook sales are grossly exaggerated and are not an accurate depiction of what Best Buy is currently seeing.
These reports cited by Dunn are based upon a comment attributed to him by the Wall Street Journal. In this comment, he claims that the iPad is causing Best Buy’s netbook and notebook sales to decline by 50%. This one quote appeared in headline after headline and caused a furor in the tech world yesterday.
Best Buy is now doing some damage control as it tries to tone down this original claim with the less inflammatory statement that “we see some shifts in consumption patterns, with tablet sales being an incremental opportunity.” It also adds that it believes “computers will remain a very popular gift this holiday because of the very distinct and desirable benefits they offer consumers.”
Reading like a page out of every PR spokesperson’s playbook, I can’t help but read between the lines of this well-scripted statement and wonder which manufacturers called up Best Buy and complained about being maligned by the retailer’s CEO in advance of the very important holiday retail season.