BlackBerry Maker RIM Reports Revenue Down, Layoffs Looming

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 06-16-2011

Research in Motion's BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, a 7-inch entrant into the increasingly competitive tablet market, shipped approximately 500,000 units in the company's fiscal Q1 2012. RIM also shipped approximately 13.2 million BlackBerry smarpthones in the same period, according to the company's June 16, 2011, earnings call.

RIM earned $4.9 billion in revenue in its fiscal Q1 2012, down 12 percent from the previous quarter. Net income also declined, and RIM executives on the earnings call acknowledged that the BlackBerry maker is undergoing a turbulent period in its long history. RIM continues to face substantial competition on a number of fronts, including Apple's new robust messaging service for its iOS mobile devices.

During the earnings call, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie suggested that the company would lay off employees and start the "streamlining of operations" in order to make the company more efficient.

RIM has made no secret of its plans to introduce a set of "superphones" based on its QNX operating system, which currently powers the company's PlayBook tablet. However, those superphones aren't widely expected to reach store shelves before the second half of 2012, requiring RIM to rely on BlackBerry OS 7 and upcoming devices such as the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930, which were unveiled during the May 2011 BlackBerry World conference.

During the earnings call, Balsillie and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis took pains to emphasize that they have a plan to guide their company back to profitability, despite continued aggression by competitors such as Apple's iPhone and the growing family of Google Android smartphones. Both expressed confidence at RIM's ability to execute on the transition to QNX-based BlackBerry devices, and to keep adding to the PlayBook's capabilities--despite what Balsillie acknowledged as a tablet launch that "did not go as smoothly as we planned."

For more, read the eWeek article RIM Quarterly Results: 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBooks Shipped, Layoffs Coming.