By Quentin Fottrell
Best Buy stores have been withholding some of Apple’s iPad 2 stock from customers. The company has acknowledged that much, but the reason for this unusual behavior remains frustratingly unclear.
Walk-in customers at Best Buy were told they were out of stock. Best Buy confirmed in a statement last Friday that the iPads were withheld at stores, saying it was “fulfilling customer reservations first” and holding them for an “upcoming promotion,” thereby pouring cold water on allegations and rumors that Best Buy was withholding the elusive tablet because individual stores had met their daily sales quotas.
With people standing in line all over for the world for the much sought-after iPad 2 outside Apple Stores, any confusion over shortages is both a sensitive and controversial one, especially for the iPad manufacturer Apple. Is the practice of withholding iPads for an “upcoming promotion” really the best way to deal with “supply constraints”? Does that even make sense?
This is Best Buy’s original statement early last Friday:
“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.”
However, in updated statement, that “upcoming promotion” was omitted:
“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. We are responding to customer demand with product as it is available, and replenishing inventory on a weekly basis. Best Buy enjoys a great partnership with Apple, and we’re delighted by the customer response to iPad 2.”
A Best Buy spokeswoman could not cast any light on the reason for the subtle changes between the two statements except to confirm that there were talks between Apple and Best Buy on Friday after news of the shortages broke. An Apple spokesman told Pay Dirt that Best Buy continues to sell the iPad 2, and declined to comment on rumors surrounding the shortages.
What do you think of the mystery of the missing iPads?