Layoffs At RIM Begin


As part of a larger restructuring effort to cut costs and breathe new life into its struggling BlackBerry smartphones, Research In Motion reportedly has initiated a wave of layoffs expected to continue throughout the year.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that RIM is laying off "small batches" of 10 or so employees at a time throughout a range of departments, including operations and quality control. The report cited sources familiar with the matter.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company has not specified how many layoffs it plans to make but did warn of possible workforce reductions, along with lower-than-expected first-quarter financial results, last month.

[Related: RIM Discontinues 16-GB BlackBerry PlayBook]

According to RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, the company will continue to invest in resources for software development, as it preps for the launch of BlackBerry 10, its next-generation mobile operating system, later this year.

"While there will be significant spending reductions and head-count reductions in some areas throughout the remainder of the fiscal year, we will continue to spend and hire in key areas such as those associated with the launch of BlackBerry 10, and those tied to the growth of our application developer community," Heins said in an earlier statement.

Several RIM executives, including global sales head Patrick Spence and chief legal officer Karima Bawa have left the company over the past few weeks. During RIM’s fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts in March, it also revealed the departures of CTO David Yach and COO Jim Rowan.

The struggling BlackBerry maker hopes its restructuring efforts will yield $1 billion in cost-savings by the end of its fiscal year. In addition, RIM is placing its bets on BlackBerry 10, a platform that will usher in a new wave of BlackBerry smartphones with updated features including a virtual keyboard and the ability to run certain apps from Google’s Android OS.