BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) plans to cut its product range by as much as 44% by early next year as it looks to reduce costs.
The Canadian company recently announced a loss of $518m (£334m), its first quarterly loss in eight years. It also revealed it was delaying the launch of its BlackBerry 10 operating system until the first quarter of next year.
Speaking at an event at its Slough headquarters to promote the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, Mike Gibson, director of enterprise in the UK & Ireland, said it had other measures in place to reduce its outgoings, with plans to reduce the number of stock-keeping units. He said: ‘We have 9,000 different product codes in the market. When we get to BlackBerry 10, we will get that down to between 5,000 and 6,000. That will make a huge difference to our cost base going forward.’
Despite the challenges facing the manufacturer, Gibson (pictured) claimed the UK was faring better than other markets, with corporate sales rising each month for more than a year. He said: ‘We have issued assurances to our corporate customers that we are here for the long term. The consumer business has issues. We have around 99% of the market share of devices with a keyboard, but we don’t have a desirable multimedia gaming platform. There are currently 8.2 million active data-carrying BlackBerry subscribers in the UK. We have a substantial installed base of customers and the UK business for enterprise grows month on month.’
Despite the delays to BB10, Gibson was confident business customers would remain loyal to BlackBerry and wait for the new operating system to launch. He said a proportion of BlackBerry users were on an older OS: ‘I have 253,000 BlackBerry devices in the market that are running BlackBerry 4. That’s at least more than three years old. If customers want a cost-effective messaging service, then they have that today. If they want great email, then they have that today.’
He added: ‘Our current operating system is great for messaging. It’s the best product out there. What BB10 is about is introducing games and multimedia for consumers, and for enterprise it’s a mobile computing platform.
‘It’s a next generation system, which is why it has taken slightly longer to implement.’
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