RIM Blackberry PlayBook Now Available From $99 For Employees

RIM is selling 16GB PlayBook tablets to its employees for only $99, a fraction of the original selling price of the tablet in the retail market.

According to Joanna Stern of the Verge who quotes a number of anonymous sources, the 32GB model costs $149 and the 64GB model an additional $50.

Interestingly, employees can buy up to eight units rather than just two as was the case for the HP TouchPad tablet a few weeks ago.

It is therefore likely that the tablets will make their way onto Ebay soon. Given past discounts that we've noticed, it is becoming increasingly evident that RIM is beginning a massive clear out of its PlayBook tablets, even though the Canadian manufacturer denies it.

Could it be that RIM suddenly wants to increase its user base by selling the tablet with a significant loss rather than going through traditional advertising? The tablet currently costs $199 in Canada and the US and refurbished models can be had from as little as $150.

But we know that the cost of parts, known as the bill of material, is nearer to $200, a price that excludes non-physical costs like the cost of R&D, licenses etc.