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Research In Motion to cut 2 000 jobs

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has announced that it is cutting 2000 jobs and that its ailing chief operating officer plans to retire.

RIM, which is facing increased competition from Apple’s iPhone and mobile phones running Google’s Android software, revealed plans last month to slash jobs this quarter in a bid to “streamline operations.”

The job cuts announced Monday amount to just over 10 percent of the global workforce of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company.

RIM said in a statement that it would have around 17 000 employees when the layoffs are complete.

“The workforce reduction is believed to be a prudent and necessary step for the long-term success of the company,” RIM said. “It follows an extended period of rapid growth within the company whereby the workforce had nearly quadrupled in the last five years alone.”

RIM said the financial impact of the job cuts will be disclosed when the company announces its second quarter results on the 15th of September.

RIM also said that chief operating officer Don Morrison, who is on temporary medical leave, planned to retire after more than 10 years with the company.

Morrison will be replaced by Thorsten Heins and Jim Rowan, who will split the COO duties.

“Don’s presence at RIM will be missed, but our senior management and sales teams had already stepped up to manage Don’s responsibilities since the commencement of his medical leave,” RIM co-chief executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis said.

“We’re confident in the ability of those teams to continue Don’s tradition of success going forward,” they said.
RIM said Heins will be COO for product and sales and would be in charge of the company’s hardware and software teams.

As COO for operations, Rowan will be responsible for RIM’s manufacturing, global supply chain, repair services, organizational development and facilities management.

RIM’s most famous product, the BlackBerry, is a favourite of businesses around the world but the company has struggled against the iPhone and Android devices in the consumer space.

A touchscreen tablet computer, the BlackBerry PlayBook, released in April to compete with Apple’s popular iPad, received desultory initial reviews.–AFP