BlackBerry maker RIM axing 2,000 jobs, 11% of workforce

Layoffs will leave BlackBerry maker with 17,000 employees

Research in Motion, which has been losing ground to Apple, Google and even Microsoft in the mobile market, announced Monday it is cutting 2,000 jobs, or about 11% of its workforce.

In its announcement, RIM emphasized a series of management moves that combined with the layoffs "are intended to create greater alignment of the organization and to streamline RIM’s operations in order to better position the company for future growth and profitability."

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Among the personnel moves, COO Don Morrison is retiring after about 10 years with the company and Thorsten Heins is taking over the job. CIO Robin Bienfait will keep that job but also taking on responsibility for the Enterprise Business Unit. No changes to the company's oft-criticized dual-CEO structure were announced.

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RIM says its layoffs will eliminate redundancies and focus on realigning people with growth opportunities for the company. RIM says it will divulge the financial impact of the cuts come September, when it announces quarterly results.

2011 has been an awful year for RIM on a number of fronts. Fresh data from research outfit ChangeWave reflects RIM's situation: Only 4% of 4,100-plus U.S. consumers surveyed said they preferred BlackBerry OS devices, down 1% from a March survey and down to its lowest point since ChangeWave started doing the survey in January 2008. What's more RIM's customer satisfaction ratings have fallen in 9 of the past 10 ChangeWave surveys.

RIM's entry into the tablet computer market, the PlayBook, has been met with so-so reviews, the company has delayed its Bold 9900 smartphone due to a needed hardware upgrade, and in June RIM downgraded its earnings forecast for the year. The news of the layoffs and management shake-up drove the company's stock price down before trading opened Monday.

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