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6/20/2012
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RIM Confirms New Layoffs

Research In Motion confirmed Wednesday that it is reducing its headcount further, though it wouldn't state specific numbers.

Research In Motion today indicated that it plans to make more cuts to its employee ranks. The company didn't say how many employees are losing their jobs but noted that it has "reduced some positions as part of its program and may continue to do so as the company methodically works through a review of the business."

RIM slashed about 2,000 jobs in July 2011. It had a headcount of about 16,500 employees as recently as May of this year. RIM hopes to save about $1 billion in costs via a restructuring plan that it is currently undertaking. RIM didn't say what departments are being affected by the new headcount reductions, but the company will provide more details in its quarterly earnings report, due June 28.

RIM is in the middle of a protracted reboot of its smartphone platform, and is working feverishly on BlackBerry 10, a brand-new smartphone platform that it hopes will reverse its fortunes in the marketplace.

[ Former RIM co-CEOs Lazaridis and Balsillie enjoyed a huge--and many feel, undeserved--payday on their way out the door. Read about it at RIM Former CEOs' Golden Parachutes Draw Jeers. ]

BlackBerry 10 will combine the best features of BlackBerry 7 and PlayBook OS 2.0 to create a new master operating system that will run on its smartphones and tablets down the road. RIM recently showed off several features of the new platform, including a new way of typing on a touch-screen device and new camera features.

Earlier this year, RIM seeded alpha-class devices to developers, which they can use to write BB10 apps. RIM hope to have strong developer support and a significant number of apps available when BB10 launches late this year. The company is hosting a number of "BlackBerry Jam" developer events around the world to further garner developer support for its new platform.

On May 29, the company issued a grim warning about its performance during its first fiscal quarter. "As I mentioned on the March financial results conference call, RIM is going through a significant transformation as we move towards the BlackBerry 10 launch, and our financial performance will continue to be challenging for the next few quarters," said CEO Thorsten Heins.

"The ongoing competitive environment is impacting our business in the form of lower volumes and highly competitive pricing dynamics in the marketplace, and we expect our [first quarter] results to reflect this and likely result in an operating loss for the quarter. We are continuing to be aggressive as we compete for our customers' business--both enterprise and consumer--around the world, and our teams are working hard to provide cost-competitive, feature-rich solutions to our global customer base."

At this year's InformationWeek 500 Conference C-level execs will gather to discuss how they're rewriting the old IT rulebook and accelerating business execution. At the St. Regis Monarch Beach, Dana Point, Calif., Sept. 9-11.

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