RIM delays new BlackBerry launch as problems deepen

Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:30pm EDT
 
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By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd delayed the make-or-break launch of its next-generation BlackBerry phones until next year, in a devastating setback to the once-dominant technology company whose sales are crumbling.

Shares in the company, which also announced a steeper-than-expected quarterly operating loss, plunged 18 percent after it said it would release its revamped BlackBerry 10 devices early in 2013, instead of late this year, because the development had "proven to be more time consuming than anticipated."

The delay in releasing the devices - RIM's last best hope of stemming its eclipse at the hands of Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Google's Android phones - confirmed the worst fears of analysts and investors.

Combined with the size of the loss, its first for eight years, and the likelihood that sales keep sliding into 2013, it narrows the window through which RIM must climb if it is to survive as an independent entity.

RIM's announcement that it would slash 5,000 jobs, or 30 percent of its workforce, only reinforced the impression of a company that could be in terminal decline.

"It's like watching a puppy die. It's terrible," said Matthew Thornton, an analyst at Avian Securities in Boston.

"Wow, what a disaster," said Edward Snyder, managing director of Charter Equity Research in San Francisco, who said RIM was now in "a handset death spiral."

"From a numbers point of view it could hardly be worse and it's going to deteriorate from here," he said.   Continued...

 
A logo of the Blackberry maker's Research in Motion is seen on a building at the RIM Technology Park in Waterloo April 18, 2012. Picture taken April 18, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch