Best Buy retreats from iPad cannibalization claim

CEO Brian Dunn now says the Apple devices aren't cutting into notebook sales as much as he was quoted as stating earlier this week in a Wall Street Journal article.

Erica Ogg Former Staff writer, CNET News
Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.
Erica Ogg
2 min read

It turns out that Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn may have been exaggerating a bit when he said the iPad was cutting into notebook sales at Best Buy by "as much as 50 percent."

Brian Dunn
Brian Dunn, CEO of Best Buy

That one quote was buried in a Wall Street Journal article from earlier this week, but it has received a lot of attention because, well, if true, that's astounding. Now Best Buy has been forced to put out a kinda-sorta correction saying he might have been overstating things. He comes short of saying he was misquoted, but he certainly implies that in a statement issued Friday:

The reports of the demise of these devices are grossly exaggerated," Dunn said. "While they were fueled in part by a comment in The Wall Street Journal that was attributed to me, they are not an accurate depiction of what we're currently seeing. In fact, we see some shifts in consumption patterns, with tablet sales being an incremental opportunity. And as we said during our recent earnings call, we believe that computers will remain a very popular gift this holiday because of the very distinct and desirable benefits they offer consumers. That's why we intend to carry a broad selection of computing products and accessories, to address the demand we anticipate this season.

Dunn doesn't say the basic idea is not true--just that it was a "gross" exaggeration. And he doesn't offer a more updated or accurate rate of cannibalization that his company actually is seeing.

More than anything, by reading between the lines, it sounds as if he struck a nerve with notebook makers that weren't too happy to hear the CEO of one of their largest retail distributors slighting their products ahead of the crucial holiday retail season.