The BlackBerry smartphone was a must-have device for trendy youth and corporate executives alike, but now the device’s parent company is struggling for survival amidst fierce competition from iPhones, Android phones, and other mobile devices.
On Friday Research In Motion saw its stock slip to a 9-year low after announcing another delay for phones running its upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system and announced a dramatic 5,000-employee layoff—nearly a third of its workforce.
The new phones will not hit shelves before the new year, reports The Washington Post
Describing the current situation of the once dominant company, IDC analyst Kevin Restivo said the new release “would be like launching fireworks underwater” and Avian Securities’ Matthew Thornton stated that watching RIM is “like watching a puppy die.”
BlackBerry sales fell 41 percent year-over-year during the last quarter, and assuming the new phones don’t experience yet another delay before next year, consumers will by then likely have even more choices when it comes to smartphones.
Google is expected to release a new version of its Android operating system this July, while Apple is expected to release a new iPhone this fall — both formidable competition that will further diminish the chances of RIM making a comeback. This is not to even mention Windows phones, which have yet to prove or disprove their viability in the marketplace.
Some analysts have said it is time for RIM to pull out of the hardware business and license its software to third-party manufacturers. Others remain skeptical of that model as Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play store continue to dominate the app market — with app developers becoming increasingly loyal to those two platforms.
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