Phones

Amazon Price for BlackBerry Torch Is No Cut

Research in Motion today called reports that Amazon.com has cut the price of RIM's new BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone to $99.99 "inaccurate and misleading."

RIM, through a spokeswoman, said that Amazon.com has been selling the new smartphone for $99.99 since its launch on Aug. 12, following an "obviously ... common online pricing and promotional strategy that has been used with many other product introductions in the past." Carrier AT&T sells the new Torch for $199.99.

The spokeswoman added, "it is true that Amazon is offering an amazing price and this is great news for customers."

Computerworld reported Amazon.com's Torch 9800 pricing without referring to it as a price cut.

However, some Web sites and bloggers have called Amazon.com's pricing scheme a cut.

Amazon.com did not comment on its pricing practices, although several analysts said that pricing would likely have been a point negotiated between Amazon officials and RIM officials.

There are, indeed, many dramatic examples of smartphone discounts on various Web sites, including Amazon.com. For example, the Sony Ericsson Xperia x10 at AT&T is listed on Wirefly for $80, after AT&T had launched it Monday for $250.

In another example, the Motorola Droid 2, released by Verizon last week for $200 is advertised on Amazon.com for $150.

Blogger Seth Weintraub on Fortune.com asserted that "every BlackBerry ever invented is heavily discounted."

On one Amazon.com page for BlackBerry devices, a Bold 9700 phone from AT&T is actually listed as costing 1 cent.

Several analysts, including Michael Gartenberg at Altimeter Research and Jack Gold at J. Gold Associates said that the Amazon pricing for the Torch shouldn't be seen as an indication of problems with the Torch or its sales.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen , or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

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