RIM to cut 5,000 more jobs and further delay BlackBerry10

Research In Motion has announced more layoffs, a delay in the release of its new Blackberry smartphone and a deeper-than-expected first-quarter loss.

Q1 loss proved deeper than expected

RIM unveiled its new BlackBerry10 prototype last month. (David Friend/Canadian Press)

Research In Motion has announced more layoffs, a delay in the release of its new Blackberry smartphone and a deeper-than-expected first-quarter loss.

The BlackBerry maker said Thursday it was cutting 5,000 more jobs, on top of the 2,000 layoffs previously announced, and was delaying the launch of its BlackBerry10 and a new operating system from late this year until sometime in the first three months of next year.

"This was a challenging quarter for the company on many fronts and I'm not satisfied with the financial performance we are reporting," chief executive Thorsten Heins said on a conference call.

"I want to assure you that we are not standing still, and that we are continuing to accelerate our focus on our key initiatives."

The delay means it will miss the important back-to-school and Christmas retail seasons.

RIM has 16,500 employees worldwide.

RIM also announced a loss of $518 million, or 99 cents per share, for its latest quarter. The loss compared with a profit of $695 million or $1.33 per share a year ago. Revenues fell to $2.81 billion US from $4.91 billion.

Excluding one-time items including a non-cash charge to goodwill, the company said it lost $192 million or 37 cents per share diluted.

The loss by the BlackBerry-maker, which reports in U.S. dollars, was larger than analysts had expected.

It had widely been expected to report a loss of a penny a share and revenues of $3.1 billion US.

It was the company’s first quarterly operating loss in more than seven years.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said he's not satisfied with the results and will continue to work aggressively with all areas of the organization to address the company's challenges. (Reinhold Matay/Associated Press)

RIM reported after the close of markets. In extended hours trading, its shares were down 17 per cent.

The launch of the new smartphones, seen as key to the recovery of the company, had been expected later this year and will now miss the important holiday shopping season.

RIM said it sold 7.8 million BlackBerry smartphones and approximately 260,000 PlayBook tablets during the quarter ended June 2.

In its outlook, the company said it expects the next several quarters to continue to be very challenging for its business.

RIM said it expects to report an operating loss in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, as RIM continues to invest in marketing programs and continues to work through the transition to BlackBerry 10.

"We expected a bloodbath and that's exactly what we got," technology analyst Carmi Levy told CBC News.

It's bad all round here, and worse, to push off the new product launch until 2013, it's just the worst possible news," Levy said.

"It means the company has to survive that much longer until the new products that can possibly save it hit the market. It's not a good scenario at all."

Uncertainty has engulfed the future of RIM in recent months as speculation swirls over whether the company could be bought, or forced to sell off certain pieces of its operations to survive.

Before the earnings announcement, Canaccord Genuity technology analyst Michael Walkley said RIM's leaders have few options but to sell the business.

"We believe RIM management will need to sell the company," Walkley said Thursday in a research note to clients.

"We do not believe BB10 devices will turn around its struggling business."

At this point, RIM is only selling phones that have already been on the market for some time, making the newer products of its biggest competitors — Apple and Google — appear more cutting-edge.

Recent shipments of phones and tablets:
  RIM:   Apple:
Quarter: Quarter:
  BlackBerrys Playbooks   iPhones iPads
March 3, 2012 11.1 million 500,000 March 31, 2012 35.1 million 11.8 million
Nov. 26, 2011 14.1 million 150,000 Dec. 31, 2011: 37 million 15.4 million
Aug. 27, 2011 10.6 million 200,000 Sept. 24, 2011 17.1 million  11.1 million
May 28, 2011 13.2 million 500,000 June 25, 2011 20.3 million 9.25 million 
(Source: The Associated Press)

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press