Poor RIM: Earnings fall short, 4G BlackBerry PlayBook delayed

BlackBerry Playbook App

Everything seems to be going badly for Research In Motion. To kick off the season of suckitude, the company on Thursday reported its first quarter earnings — $4.9 billion in revenue and $695 million in profit. That may not sound bad. But it’s actually worse than even the already-lowered analyst forecasts for the company.

RIM says that it expects the downward spiral to continue into the second quarter, which will result in even worse earning projections for the rest of the year and, in turn, an unspecified number of layoffs to save costs. The loss in business is generally believed to be the result of marginalization by Apple’s iPhone and handsets running Google’s Android mobile operating system.

RIM also reported that it has sold about 500,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets, which launched on April 19, in the first quarter of this year. Unfortunately, the company also pushed back the release of its 4G-enabled PlayBook models for LTE, WiMAX and HSPA+ networks from summer until fall of this year. RIM said that it also sold 13.2 million phones in the first quarter, but reported that release of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 and 9930 would be delayed until the end of August.

On top of all this, RIM chief operations officer Don Morrison is reportedly leaving the company until the fall due to medical reasons. While this really isn’t that big of a deal, it doesn’t exactly look good for the company, especially when everything else has gone pear shaped. It also intensifies the pressure on RIM’s co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, who have already had to start fending off calls for them to step down.

For its part, RIM says that everything is hunky-dory — critics just don’t get RIM’s “unique” way of doing business.

“RIM has taken a unique path and the reason why we do things might not always be obvious from the outside,” said Lazaridis during the earnings conference call Thursday.

That may well be true. But in this game, the only thing that talks is money. And RIM needs to start screaming dollar bills if it hopes to turn investors’ moods around any time soon.

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