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RIM delays BlackBerry 10 launch and cuts jobs

Research In Motion has delayed the launch of its next-generation BlackBerry until 2013 and is cutting 5,000 jobs.

RIM posted results for its latest quarter that were worse than analysts expected. It is cutting 5,000 jobs and is delaying the launch of its new operating system, BlackBerry 10, until early 2013. The first phone with BlackBerry 10 was expected later this year.

RIM was banking its future on the new BlackBerry 10 system, which is meant to offer the multimedia, internet browsing and apps experience that customers now demand. Now it will come out months after a new iPhone is expected to be released.

RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins had vowed to do everything he could to release BlackBerry 10 this year but he said that the timetable simply was not realistic. He said RIM's top priority remains a successful launch of the new BlackBerrys.

"I will not deliver a product to the market that is not ready to meet the needs of our customers," Heins said on a conference call with analysts. "There will be no compromise on this issue."

The jobs cuts are part of a previously announced initiative to cut one billion US dollars in annual costs this year. They represent about 30 per cent of RIM's workforce of about 16,500.

"It is necessary to change the scale and refocus the company," Heins said.

"I fully understand the impact a workforce reduction of this size has on our employees and the communities in which we operate. I assure you that we wouldn't move forward with a change of this size if we didn't think it was critical for our future."

RIM shares tumbled 14 per cent, to $7.86 in extended trading, after the release of the results.

Heins acknowledged that he delivered "a lot of tough news".

"This was a challenging quarter for the company on many fronts," he said. "And I am not satisfied with the financial performance we are reporting today."

He said the company will release fewer models than in the past. He also said RIM will launch a BlackBerry 10 model with a physical keyboard close to the launch of a touch-screen model.

RIM earlier said it would come out with the touch-screen model first, but did not say when it would make one with a physical keyboard, a feature that many people stay with BlackBerrys for.

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