Toronto: The CEO of struggling mobile tech company Research in Motion Ltd (RIM), which makes BlackBerry phones, has asked its disgruntled investors for patience on Wednesday exclaiming that the company is trying to come up with new devices to rival the iPhone and Android smartphones.
Thorsten Heins, the new CEO of RIM, accepted that the year has been hard on RIM as its high-selling BlackBerry devices lost market share to other smartphone companies.
RIM has been developing the BlackBerry 10 operating software to catch up with competitors and even surpass them, but the software has faced repeated delays. Devices running it will now miss the lucrative holiday shopping season. By the time they go on sale, RIM will have even more competition, including a new iPhone expected from Apple this fall.
Heins said the company has spent the past several months reorganizing operations and is working "around the clock" to get BlackBerry 10 out in the first quarter of 2013, a year after analysts had expected it.
"I want to assure you that I am not satisfied with the performance of the company over the past year," he told investors during RIM's annual shareholders meeting.
Heins said the company will try to tap its strengths in corporate markets once new devices come out, but he warned that the benefits of BlackBerry 10 "will take time to have a meaningful impact on our performance." He reiterated that the next several quarters will be challenging for the company.
Heins on Wednesday said that he expects the company will book another operating loss in the current quarter as the company faces extra pressure on the sales price of its older BlackBerry models.
Analysts believe RIM is running out of time to turn itself around.
Sales of BlackBerry phones fell 41 percent in the most recent quarter and likely won't pick up again until new phones come out next year. By then, people will have even more choices, likely including a new iPhone and devices running the latest version of Google's Android software, called Jelly Bean.
Phones running a revamped version of Microsoft's Windows system are also coming this fall.
Although BlackBerrys were once a staple in corporate environments because of their reputation for security and reliability, they've lost their cachet as iPhones demonstrated that smartphones are good for more than email. The BlackBerry's US market share has plummeted from 41 percent in 2007, when the first iPhone came out, to less than 4 percent in the first three months of 2012, according to research firm IDC.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 09:30