NEWS

RIM says carriers like new operating system

09/25/2012 12:39 EDT | Updated 11/25/2012 05:12 EST
The CEO of struggling Research In Motion said Tuesday his firm is getting support from telecommunications carriers for the first devices to use its new operating system.

Thorsten Heins made his comments as the Waterloo, Ont.-based smartphone maker showcased its BlackBerry 10 software platform to developers in San Jose, Ca., and two days ahead of releasing quarterly financial results.

“They have said that it is beyond their expectations,” Heins said.

“They have said it is different and better.”

"We recognize the need for change," said Heins, who was promoted to CEO in January as RIM's troubles deepened. "There is a new energy and a lot of fighting spirit at RIM."

RIM's results are widely expected to show a sharp drop in sales compared with the same period last year.

BB10 is the cornerstone of the firm’s make-or-break bid to save itself with a new generation of completely re-designed devices.

RIM hopes to have the first of those in stores early next year in a bid to stem the loss of market share to Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Google’s Android software.

The company has promised the new software will provide a faster user interface and a better platform for applications such as games.

Loss expected

The long delayed process of coming out with the new operating system has also hurt sales as BlackBerry customers hold off on buying current models while waiting for the new ones.

Research firm IDC says RIM’s share of the smartphone market it once dominated has dropped to less than five per cent, while Android reached 68 per cent last quarter and Apple slipped to 17 per cent.

The consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicts RIM will report an adjusted loss of 37 cents a share on revenue of $2.81 billion US in the three months to June 2.

Excluding one-time items, analysts on average expected a loss of 47 cents a share and revenue of $2.5 billion.

Shipments of BlackBerrys are expected to have dropped by 900,000 to 6.9 million in the quarter to Sept 1.

Apple released its new iPhone 5 on Friday, selling five million in the first three days. On the same day, RIM suffered a service outage in Europe and Africa of up to three hours which affected about six per cent of its total users.

The company is laying off some 5,000 employees this year as it makes its transition to the new software platform.

Heins is heading up a review of the firm’s strategic direction. His options include licensing BB10 to another company.

RIM was once Canada's most valuable company with a market value of more than $80 billion in June 2008, but the stock has plummeted since, from over $140 share to less than $7.

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