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RIM’s Disappointing Q1 Sales Lead to Staff Layoffs

If you believe the media, Research In Motion hasn’t been faring too well. The reporting online and in the trades practically has the BlackBerry maker with one foot in the grave. But there are those who don’t (won’t) believe it — even in the face of RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie’s latest statements:

Fiscal 2012 has gotten off to a challenging start. The slowdown we saw in the first quarter is continuing into Q2, and delays in new product introductions into the very late part of August is leading to a lower than expected outlook in the second quarter.

The company says it shipped (not sold) 13.2 million BlackBerries and 500,000 PlayBooks. When it comes to tablets, word has been flying around for a few weeks that sales came in far lower than expectations. RIM’s Q1 results revealed a net income of $695 million, down from $769 million in the same quarter last year (and way down from the previous quarter’s $934 million). As if to punctuate these figures, RIM will be resorting to lay offs in order to minimize operating costs.

And yet, the company is keeping its gameface on, at least in the public eye. Balsillie went on to say that the company is still profitable, with a growing market share around the world, and believes strongly in the new products that are about to drop. “We believe that with the new products scheduled for launch in the next few months and realigning our cost structure,” says the exec, “RIM will see strong profit growth in the latter part of fiscal 2012.”

The company’s foray into touchscreens, the Torch, didn’t deliver a homerun, nor did the PlayBook tablet. So RIM is clearly hanging in there, putting all of its faith in its next round of product debuts. But it desperately needs a smash hit — a minor success may not cut it. The big question is, even if they have an outrageously spec’ed out beast of device lineups ahead, can the OS and App World development recapture market share? Especially now, with the refinement of Honeycomb and a genuine Android tablet contender, not to mention imminent iOS releases?

What do you think? Can the BlackBerry maker turn this around? Let us know your thoughts below.

[via TheLoop]

Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...