RIM rumoured to be cutting 2,000 or more jobs

Research In Motion, the ailing maker of the BlackBerry, is planning to cut at least 2,000 staff as part of a global restructuring plan, according to reports.

The restructuring could begin in the next couple of weeks, and wouldaffect staff worldwide, The Globe and Mail saidciting several unnamed people close to the company. One person familiarwith the company’s plans said the layoffs may cut even deeper, theCanadian newspaper said on Saturday.

AllThingsD also quoted sources close to the company as stating that RIMplanned to cut at least 2,000 staff out of the company’s total currentstaff strength of about 16,500.

RIM said its policy is not to comment on rumors and speculation, butpointed to comments by CEO Thorsten Heins in an earnings callin Marchabout a focus on driving excellence in operating metrics andefficiency, including an efficiency push across all functions of theorganization.

The company has been seeing its market share decline in the smartphonemarket as competition picks up from Apple’s iPhone, andphones runningthe Android operating system. Research firm IDC reported last week that9.7 million phones running the BlackBerry operating system shipped inthe first quarter for a market share of 6.4 percent, which was farlower than shipments of 13.8 million units for a market share of 13.6percent in the first quarter of last year.

Last week, Patrick Spence, a 14-year RIM veteran and head of globalsales, resigned from the company, suggesting that reorganization at thecompany continues after a managementshakeup in January.

2,000 laid off last summer
“The sales function will report directly into Kristian Tear, our newlyappointed COO when he starts this summer,” RIM said in a statementconfirming Spence’s exit. In the interim, the sales function willreport to Heins, it added.

RIM said in July last year it wasreducing its global workforce acrossall functions by approximately 2,000 employees, as part of a costoptimization program.

The company’s fortunes however continue on the downslide. Revenue forits fourth fiscal quarter ended March3, 2012 at US$4.2 billion wasdown 25 percent from $5.6 billion in the same quarter of fiscal 2011.The company’s net loss in the quarter was $125 million.

RIM also announced in March that Jim Balsillie, former co-CEO of thecompany, had resigned as a director on its board. Software CTO DavidYach also retired from his role, while Jim Rowan, COO of globaloperations decided to pursue other interests. The company announced inMay the hiring of Tear as COO and Frank Boulben as chief marketingofficer.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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