RIM delays BlackBerry 10, reports plummeting sales

Research In Motion is delaying the launch of its BlackBerry 10 operating system due to delays in completing the software.

BlackBerry 10, the next major upgrade to its OS, was due sometime before the end of the year but now won’t see a release until the first quarter of 2013, the company said Thursday.

The delay was announced as RIM reported sharply lower revenue and a loss for the March-to-May quarter. Revenue was $2.8 billion, down from $4.9 billion a year earlier. The company reported a net loss of $518 million against a profit of $695 million a year earlier.

Also on Thursday, RIM announced it would eliminate approximately 5,000 jobs as part of an ongoing restructuring. The layoffs will take place over the next nine months, the company said.

The results did not come as a total surprise. The Canadian smartphone maker said in May that it would probably post an operating loss for the March-to-May quarter, but at the time it didn’t hint at how steep the drop off in business would be.

RIM’s poor performance is largely due to the competitive market for smartphones.

The company is being squeezed by Apple, Google and Microsoft, all of which are wooing consumers and business users with upgrades to their phone operating systems.

One of the results of this has been a sharp drop in sales of new RIM devices. During the quarter, shipments of BlackBerry smartphones dropped by almost half to 7.8 million units.

With the BlackBerry 10 software delayed, RIM will now have to work harder convincing users that it’s worth putting off the purchase of a new phone and sticking with BlackBerry until its software is ready.

“I am confident that the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones will provide a ground-breaking next-generation smartphone user experience,” said Thorsten Heins, RIM’s president and CEO, in a statement.

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