It appears that BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) is in trouble yet again. After a year in which shipments of its BlackBerry smartphones dipped by an incredible 80 per cent, the firm is reportedly planning to lay off 2,000 workers in the coming weeks.
Lay offs are becoming familiar for employees of the Waterloo, Canada-based company, which eliminated roughly 2,000 jobs last summer. Since that time the firm has continued to struggle in a mobile technology market that stubbornly becomes more competitive each and every day.
Even RIM’s major players have been affected by the company’s troubles. Earlier this year the firm replaced co-CEOs Jim Balsillie (who became a familiar face after trying to purchase and move three National Hockey League teams, including Pittsburgh, Nashville, and Phoenix) and Mike Lazaridis, replacing them with Thorsten Heins. But the move hasn’t done much to improve RIM’s fortunes, as the firm has seen sales of its BlackBerry phones dip dramatically from this time last year.
For now, the new layoffs remain only the stuff of rumors courtesy of Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper. However, the Globe claims that “several people close to the company” have insisted that the cuts are coming, and “will sweep across departments, ranging from senior positions in RIM’s legal division to human resources, finance, sales, and marketing.”
If true, pink slips could be handed out as early as June 1.
There’s no denying that RIM is in need of a major overhaul. In an analysis last month, CNET tech expert Roger Cheng noted that “RIM needs some radical changes to even have a chance at mounting a comeback.”
Key to any Cinderella story will be BlackBerry 10, RIM’s long-awaited update to its current mobile operating system. RIM also has an opportunity to regain consumer loyalty with the introduction of new BlackBerry phones; both the new hardware and software is expected to ship somewhere between August and October 2012.