BB10 launch delayed as losses at BlackBerry pass $500m
Canadian smartphone inventor nears 'breaking point' as 5,000 job cuts are announced
THE Canadian company Research in Motion has confirmed it is delaying the launch of its new operating system BlackBerry 10 until 2013 and that it is cutting 5,000 jobs, leading its home newspaper, the Toronto Globe and Mail, to ask: 'Is RIM, a Canadian national icon, at its breaking point?'
The grim announcements came as the company confirmed poor figures for the quarter to 2 June – a $518m net loss compared with a $695m profit in the same period a year earlier.
It was well known that RIM, having essentially invented the smartphone, was now struggling to compete with Apple and Google in the smartphone market. Even so, analysts say the results are worse than expected.
The BBC reports that the BlackBerry 10 delay is bad news because Apple's iOS 6, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 and Google's Android 4.1 are all due for release before BlackBerry 10 emerges.
"The battle ahead is only getting harder," says BBC technology reporter Leo Kelion. "The system was originally supposed to have been released by March, and the news that it has been delayed again until 2013 means it will miss out on this year's lucrative back-to-school season."
The Globe and Mail is concerned with the job losses in Waterloo, Ontario, and the damage to RIM's reputation and national business pride.
"RIM's rapidly fizzling fortunes are a blow to the Canadian technology sector, its home town of Waterloo, and Canada's ambition to produce globally competitive innovators," says the paper.
It quotes Kerry Morrison, CEO of Toronto software developer Endloop Mobile, saying he was glad he didn't attend a recent BlackBerry developer outreach event he was invited to by RIM.
"They had one hope – one – and that was to make BB10 the greatest thing since sliced bread and get it out on time. Clearly, they have failed. There's just no way now to pull out of the death spiral," he said. "With stiff competition and a complete lack of marketplace trust, zombie Steve Jobs couldn't fix RIM."