In an increasingly bleak picture of the once dominant Research in Motion, their next-generation mobile operating system BlackBerry 10 has been delayed to the first fiscal quarter of 2013. The operating system and first devices equipped with the software were originally slated for release in the holiday 2012 window, which would have presumably given them an early infusion of install base. Instead, the 2013 release window places RIM squarely in the sights of an established Apple iPhone 5/iOS 6 and Google Android 4.1 Jelly Bean-laden landscape.
To add insult to injury, RIM is also laying off 5,000 of their employees to fight the tide of ever-decreasing revenue that outstrips the most cynical predictions by analysts. The 5,000 lost employees comprised 32% of RIM’s previous workforce count of 16,500. In the face of this, CEO Thorsten Heins has steadfastly stayed the course, expressing hopes that the reduction of staffing will streamline development of BB10. He went on to state that QWERTY and touchscreen devices for the platform would release in close proximity to each other, though there would likely only be one of each as not to oversaturate the market.
Even with such a resolute view, rumors are rising that suggest RIM’s board is pushing for more drastic options that would splinter various elements of the company. Reuters reports that discussions have also taken place for Microsoft to acquire the Waterloo-based company and work Windows Phone 8 into RIM’s relatively popular physical design. In either case, it seems that the board is still deferring to Heins’s judgement for now, but don’t expect the status quo to be upheld much longer if any of these rumors hold true.