Having to make a choice due to the pressure of the pandemic to either disappoint hobbyists and educators or let the small businesses built on his company’s platform falter was “the single most difficult decision I’ve had to make in my business career,” said the co-founder and Raspberry Pi CEO Eben. Upton speaks in new video interview.
Flying into the Raspberry Pi headquarters in Cambridge, England, with support from his supporters, Jeff Girling digs into Upton’s December 2022 “supply chain update”. Upton said at the time that by the third quarter of 2023, “hundreds of thousands” of core Pi units should be available, with Zero units, then models 3 and 3B, then 4.
Upton told Gerling that “we are where we promised to be in December”, with a “lousy first quarter” of 750,000–800,000 units produced due to production being pushed over the Christmas period. But now there is real progress in filling backlogs and accessibility. Upton expects to move 2 million Pis in the second quarter and then “unlimited” in the third and fourth quarters of 2023.
Upton told Gerling that the Pi 3A+ has been permanently in stock for months – we’ll define “permanently” a bit loosely. The Zero and Zero 2 models should start to make a comeback, Upton said, and buyers should see a “substantial recovery” in the 3, 3B+ and 4 models by the end of this second quarter.
This is a marked turnaround from seven months ago when Upton another interview with Gerlingsaid that Pis had the same supply restrictions as other device manufacturers and that most devices had to be sold to businesses with standing orders for them.
Looking back over the past three years, Upton said that in anticipating something no one expected, he may have stockpiled. BCM2835 chip which many Pi models rely on. The slight backlog in order fulfillment has a combined effect, Upton said; Once there is a sense of shortage, buyers can begin to stockpile and the cycle of shortages continues.
That’s what made Upton and Pi’s executives prioritize their business customers in the midst of the pandemic, which he says are typically 5-10-employee “mom and dad stores” building devices with the Pi at their center. “I think a lot of people will admit that we did the right thing, or are willing to give us the benefit of the doubt,” Upton told Gerling. “We have passed judgment. I look forward to when I no longer have to pass this sentence.”
Gerling’s full interview with Upton has much more to offer, including talk of the Pi’s future plans, discussion of RISC-V and ARM, Sony’s investment, and how Gerling is pushing Upton to respond to the idea that the Pi has enough PCI Express bus bandwidth to support the RTX 3070 . .