RIM on death watch as BlackBerry 10 launch slips into 2013

Another 5,000 jobs also set to go

RIM on death watch as BlackBerry 10 launch slips into 2013
RIM has delayed the launch of its new BlackBerry 10 devices for the second time, announcing the platform will now make its debut in early 2013.

The update's slip comes as the firm posted a net loss of $518 million in the last quarter, with 5,000 jobs set to go as the company streamlines its operations.

Slip and slide

The delay of BB 10, however, risks dealing the greater blow to BlackBerry's longterm future.

With shipments of existing handsets falling away, RIM's executives have openly pitched the new platform as the drive of any future revival.

BB 10 had been due to roll out in the autumn, lining the platform directly up against iOS 6, Windows Phone 8 and Android 4.1 - all of which are set to launch in the coming months.

Analysts are now questioning whether RIM can afford to let BB 10 slip to the following year, with IDC analyst Kevin Restivo telling The Guardian that launching the new platform post Christmas is "akin to launching fireworks underwater."

Failure to launch

"RIM is like Nokia two years ago – fighting for an old operating system and announcing new versions with poor execution," added fellow IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo.

"At least Nokia did a proper restart. RIM faces strong challenges in [calendar] 3Q & 4Q. No BB 10, Samsung Galaxy S III a huge success, new iPhone coming out, new Windows Phone 8 devices. Tough! Nokia is struggling to sell the new devices, RIM is struggling to launch them!"

Charter Equity Research MD Edward Snyder added to the woe, suggesting RIM was now in a "handset death spiral".

Back at BlackBerry World 2012 back in March, RIM CEO Thorsten Heins dismissed the threat proposed by other platforms such as Android and Windows Phone, claiming the launch of BB 10 would signal the company's intention to return to the top table.

"We know we're in a big fight at the moment, but I'm not here to be in the game," said Heins. "I'm here to win."

With a fine eye for detail, Keith Andrew is fuelled by strong coffee, Kylie Minogue and the shapely curve of a san serif font.


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