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."
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.