RIM to shed 2,000 jobs
Flagging BlackBerry maker to cull 11% of workforce as part of major restructure
Research In Motion, the company behind the popular BlackBerry smartphone, has announced its intentions to shed 2,000 jobs before the end of the year.
The move, which represents 11% of the firm's workforce,comes on the back of growing competition in the smartphone sector, which has seen RIM increasingly lose market share to its rivals. The Waterloo, Canada-based company presently employs approximately 19,000 staff.
"The changes... are intended to create greater alignment of the organisation and to streamline RIM's operations, in order to better position the company for future growth and profitability," the vendor said in a statement today.
The statement added that it would be notifying employees in North America and "certain other countries" later this week.
As part of a major structural overhaul, several of RIM's highest ranking executives, including the company's CIO, COO and CTO, are to be handed extra responsibilities. RIM's dual CEO model, which has been the target of shareholder ire in recent weeks, is to remain.
RIM has in recent months seen the market share of its BlackBerry smartphone eroded by competitors including Apple's iPhone and device's running Google's Android OS. Statistics released by market watcher Comscore earlier this month showed that RIM's market share in the three-month period up to May 30 had declined 4.2% to 24.7%. Comparatively, Android's share rose 5.1% to 38.1%.
The vendor has also recently entered the tablet market, releasing its PlayBook device in April 2011. The tablet, intended to compete with Apple's iPad, received a mixed critical reception.
In June, an open letter signed by a "senior employee" at RIM urged the company to place greater focus and build relationships with software developers. It also urged RIM's management to have more "humility" when dealing with the press. In April, co-CEO Mike Lazaradis terminated an interview with the BBC when pushed on RIM's present situation in the Middle East.
RIM has had several public run-ins with the UAE government, which has previously threatened to ban secure BlackBerry services unless the device's manufacturer handed over certain encryption keys. UAE authorities have claimed that services such as BlackBerry Messenger, which have typically used overseas servers, posed a security threat. The standoff ended when BlackBerry agreed to install servers on the Gulf nation's soil.
Despite these setbacks, RIM insists that its business is still going strong in Europe and the Middle East, this month boasting that the company had added more than one million new subscribers in the space of three weeks.