December 21, 2011, 3:28 PM — You get the feeling that executives in Research in Motion will especially relish singing "Should old acquaintance be forgot" this year.
That's because 2011 was truly a year to forget for the Canadian smartphone manufacturer, as the company experienced product delays, network outages and declining profits. In this timeline we'll look back on RIM's year to forget, from its initial fumbles with the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet computer to its latest subpar earnings report released yesterday.
ANALYSIS: How RIM is getting left behind
January 2011: RIM started the year still having the second-most used smartphone operating system in the United States, as Nielsen reported that the iPhone OS accounted for 28.6% of the U.S. smartphone market share, followed closely by BlackBerry OS (26.1%) and Google's Android (25.8%). This lead over Android was not to last, however.
April 2011: RIM launched the PlayBook weeks after Apple released its second iteration of its iPad device. As released, the device was not ready for primetime as it lacked stand-alone email, contact or calendar capabilities and had to rely on having a "bridge" connection with a BlackBerry smartphone in order to have these critical applications. RIM also warned investors that its first-quarter earnings were going to be lower than analysts had expected.
June 2011: RIM announced that it was going to delay releasing its new BlackBerry Bold smartphone to upgrade its hardware. An anonymous RIM executive released an open letter to the Boy Genius Report where he detailed the sources of the company's recent struggles. IDC said that BlackBerry OS now ranked fourth among smartphone operating systems and was expected to stay there through 2015.
July 2011: RIM said it would lay off 2,000 employees, or roughly 11% of its workforce.