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Research In Motion (RIM) has issued a profit warning, plans to cut the workforce and delay product launches amid fierce competition from smartphone rivals.

The BlackBerry and PlayBook maker grew 2012 fiscal first quarter revenues 16 per cent year-on-year to $4.9bn (£3bn) as profits slid nine per cent to $695m. But on a sequential basis the situation was markedly worse; sales fell 12 per cent and profits dived more than 25 per cent.

"Fiscal 2012 has gotten off to a challenging start," said RIM chief executive Jim Balsillie.

"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 lower than expected outlook."

Launches of the latest generation Bold device has been put on hold as have the upgraded Torch touchscreen mobile and touch handheld Storm, leading the vendor to slash Q2 shipment forecasts of 11 million to 12.5 million, down from the 14 million expected by market watchers.

It also downgraded earnings per share for the quarter from previous estimates of $1.40 to $0.75 cents to $1.05.

Starting in the current quarter, RIM said it was intending to make redundancies and move heads to the fastest growing areas of the business, it expected to realise the impact of cost cutting from Q3.

RIM sales have suffered at the hands of Apple's iPhone and a growing band of smartphone vendors basing their devices on Google's Android.

Richard Holway, Chairman at industry analyst TechMarketView, said in a post this morning that BlackBerry is "very good at email… the problem is that it is 'only' good at email" and was way off the pace in all other aspects, particularly web surfing and Apps. ®

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