BlackBerry 10 delayed after disastrous RIM results

Research in Motion is to delay the launch of its BlackBerry 10 smartphone until the first quarter next year, following the announcement of even worse-than-expected quarterly results.

The company’s finding it harder than expected to get the operating system finished, and reckons it needs a few extra months.

“RIM’s development teams are relentlessly focussed on ensuring the quality and reliability of the platform and I will not compromise the product by delivering it before it is ready,” says president and CEO Thorsten Heins.

“I am confident that the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones will provide a ground-breaking next generation smartphone user experience. We are encouraged by the traction that the BlackBerry 10 platform is gaining with application developers and content partners following the successful BlackBerry Jam sessions that we have held around the world since the beginning of May.”

The announcement comes along with disastrous results for the quarter – worse, even, than expected – with losses hitting $518 million. Revenue was down at third at just $2.8 billion. RIM says it shipped only 7.8 million BlackBerrys, down 41 percent from the same period last year, and now plans to slash 5,000 jobs.

“I am not satisfied with these results, and continue to work aggressively with all areas of the organization and the Board to implement meaningful changes to address the challenges, including a thoughtful realignment of resources and honing focus within the company on areas that have the greatest opportunities,” says Heins.

RIM concedes that things aren’t likely to get much better terribly quickly, partly because of the BlackBerry 10 delay, and is forecasting a loss for the next quarter too.

Some observers are predicting the effective death of RIM; others believe it can be saved, albeit through a sale of part of the business, a shift to another operating system or some other drastic move.

“RIM should really consider licensing BB10 to other device vendors and extend the reach of BlackBerry services to beyond its own portfolio of devices,” says Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.

“This will enable RIM to target a wider audience and unlock new market opportunities in both the consumer and the enterprise segments, allowing the company to reinvigorate its position as a leader in delivering a premium customer experience and reliable and secure messaging services.”