BlackBerry goes from bad to worse

New York

The next generation of BlackBerry smartphones, on which Research in is pinning its hopes of survival, will not be ready in time for the Christmas holidays and won't go on sale until next year, the company said last night.

The news was just one of several grim items in the company's latest quarterly update, which sent RIM shares down a further 15 per cent in after-hours trading. The stock has lost almost three-quarters of its value in a year, because of plunging BlackBerry sales and doubts over whether the smartphone pioneer can ever again compete with Apple and other manufacturers.

RIM's employees have been overwhelmed by the volume of computer code needed for the new BlackBerry 10 range, the company said, in explanation of the delay. At the same time it said there will be 5,000 more layoffs – representing about one-third of the global workforce – in the next year.

BlackBerry shipped just 7.8 million phones in the three months to 2 June, down from 13.2 million in the same period last year. Apple nearly doubled quarterly iPhone sales to 18.7 million over the same period. RIM plunged into the red to the tune of $518m in the last quarter, on revenues down 43 per cent to $2.8bn.

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