by Al Sacco

Ax Falls at RIM as BlackBerry Maker Starts Cutting Jobs

Jun 21, 20112 mins
MobileSmall and Medium Business

Ailing BlackBerry-maker RIM reportedly cut some 200 jobs on Monday, as part of an ongoing "cost optimization program."

It should come as no surprise, but BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) has started to hand out pink slips to employees in Waterloo, Ontario, where the Canadian company’s headquarters are located.

Research In Motion (RIM) Headquarters
Research In Motion (RIM) Headquarters

Last Thursday, RIM’s co-CEOs announced on its fiscal Q1 2012 earnings call that it would soon be making “headcount reductions across the company.” And it looks like RIM isn’t wasting any time.

As many as 200 Waterloo-area RIM employees were greeted with layoff notices yesterday morning, according to The Waterloo Region Record, a local Waterloo news outlet. No additional details on the specific employees who were affected, or their areas of employment, were mentioned in the report.

The layoffs appear to be part of the “cost optimization program” announced by RIM on Thursday, which will include a “realignment…. focused on taking out redundancies and a reallocation of resources to allow [RIM] to focus on the areas that offer the highest growth opportunities and align with…. strategic objectives, such as accelerating new product introductions.”

RIM has come upon hard times during the past few years, largely due to competition from rivals like Apple and Google, and an inability to get new products out the door as quickly as these fast-moving competitors.

On the financial side of things, RIM on Thursday announced that its revenue for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 was $4.9 billion, down 12 percent from $5.6 billion in the previous quarter. And net income for the quarter was $695 million, compared with net income of $934 million in the prior quarter and net income of $769 million in the same quarter last year.

RIM employs about 17,500 people globally, with roughly 9,000 of them located in and around Waterloo, according to The Waterloo Region Record. And while the number of layoffs on Monday doesn’t necessary sound very significant when compared to the total number of RIM staffers located in Waterloo, those layoffs are very likely only the first round of the reductions.