Embattled BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is planning to slash thousands of jobs worldwide as it seeks to restructure in the wake of losses and shrinking market share, several news sources report.

According to a report in the Globe and Mail, RIM is planning to slash at least 2,000 jobs. But an unnamed source close to the company told Reuters that number could be as high as 6,000.

That’s on top of a round of layoffs last summer that saw 2,000 people lose their jobs, and it doesn’t take into account “stealth” layoffs that have reportedly been taking place at the company for some time. Junior staff have been receiving layoff notices in what has become known internally as “Goodbye Thursdays,” because the layoffs typically take place on that day, Reuters reports.

If the worst-case number is correct, RIM’s staff could be reduced to around 10,000 worldwide, down from around 18,500 as recently as last year.

The layoffs are likely to hit southwestern Ontario the hardest, as RIM’s employment is most intensely concentrated near its headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario.

The company has seen its market share slide dramatically over the past two years, as Apple’s iPhone and smartphones running the Android operating system have come to dominate the market.

The company’s troubles, which included posting a loss of 24 cents per share in the latest quarter, prompted the departure of the company’s co-CEOS, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis. The new CEO, Thorsten Heins, said in a conference call earlier this year that he is looking to eliminate $1 billion of spending, which many took to mean more layoffs would be coming.

Although RIM remains strong in some developing countries, such as India, the company has been steadily losing market share around the world. Recent research cited by the Globe and Mail indicate the company now accounts for fewer than 7 per cent of global smartphone shipments, down from a market-leading position just a few years ago.

The company recently released details about its new BlackBerry 10, which is expected to hit the market later this year. But many analysts say it’s too late for the company to bounce back. Pipe Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told CNBC in April that RIM is going “out of business.”

Buyout rumours have swirled around the company, most recently a bizarre rumour about a $3.5-billion bid from Microsoft. Analysts, however, are increasingly saying that RIM is becoming an unattractive takeover target.

There are not that many buyers left” for RIM, Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner said, as quoted at the Toronto Star. “BlackBerry is running out of sugar daddies.”

Shares of RIM are hovering around $11, down from a peak of $140 in 2008.

RIM'S BIGGEST SETBACKS OVER THE PAST YEAR
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  • Blackberry PlayBook Flops, Prices Slashed

    The PlayBook tablet, which was the BlackBerry maker's answer to the iPad, went on sale in April 2011. Since then, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/03/blackberry-playbook-price-rim_n_1181167.html" target="_hplink">RIM has lost $485 million</a> on unsold units. At the beginning of January, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/03/blackberry-playbook-price-rim_n_1181167.html" target="_hplink">RIM slashed the price of all models</a> of its tablet to $299. The special pricing will last until February 4. PlayBooks, which come in 16, 32 and 64 gigabyte models, typically retail for $499, $599 and $699, respectively, <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57351162-92/blackberry-playbook-price-now-$299-for-all-models/" target="_hplink">according to CNET</a>. In November, RIM temporarily <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/22/blackberry-playbook-price-drop_n_1107941.html" target="_hplink">slashed the price</a> of the 16GB version of the tablet to $199 at certain retail locations.

  • Network Outages

    In October, BlackBerry <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/13/blackberry-outage-2011-rim-says-services-returning_n_1008596.html" target="_hplink">suffered an outage that affected</a> many of its then 70-million worldwide users, leaving some of its customers in Asia, Europe, Latin American and Africa without service for as many as three days. Some users in the U.S. were affected, but not for as long a period.

  • Drunk Execs Disrupt International Flight

    In December, two RIM executives were fired after a flight they were on was forced to be diverted because the pair's "drunken rowdiness," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/02/two-men-face-hefty-fine-a_0_n_1125214.html" target="_hplink">the AP reports</a>.

  • BlackBerry 10 Platform Delayed

    Research in Motion announced in December 2011 that its highly anticipated BlackBerry 10 platform won't be available until the end of 2012. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/16/blackberry-10-phones-rim_n_1153314.html" target="_hplink">According to the AP</a>, the company claims the holdup is because the chipset needed for the phones running the platform won't be available until the middle of this year.

  • Stock Slides In 2011

    In 2011, <a href="http://www.dailyfinance.com/quote/nasdaq/research-in-motion-limited-usa/rimm" target="_hplink">RIM's stock</a> dropped <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/rim-ceos-jim-balsillie-mike-lazaridis_n_1222605.html#s629929&title=Lessien" target="_hplink">a massive 75 percent</a>.

  • Falling U.S. Market Share

    In less than a year, RIM's share of the U.S. smartphone market <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/rim-ceos-jim-balsillie-mike-lazaridis_n_1222605.html#s629929&title=Lessien" target="_hplink">dropped by almost 50 percent</a>, from <a href="http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/3/comScore_Reports_January_2011_U.S._Mobile_Subscriber_Market_Share" target="_hplink">30.4 percent</a> in January 2011 to <a href="http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/12/comScore_Reports_November_2011_U.S._Mobile_Subscriber_Market_Share" target="_hplink">16.6 percent</a> in November 2011. In 2009, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/16/blackberry-10-phones-rim_n_1153314.html" target="_hplink">RIM controlled 44 percent</a> of the US smartphone market. (Pictured above is the HTC Desire HD Android, which runs on Google's much more popular Android platform.)

  • Investors Urge Company Sell Itself

    A nearly 75 percent drop in stock price in 2011 did not please investors. At the end of 2011, Jaguar Financial Corp, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/01/03/balsillie-lazaridis-rim-research-in-motion-jaguar-financial_n_1180885.html" target="_hplink">one of the largest investors</a> in RIM, called "for substantial corporate governance change and for a sale of RIM, whether as a whole or as separate parts." Vic Alboini, the chief executive of Jaguar Financial, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16393180" target="_hplink">told the BBC earlier this month</a> that RIM has "lost it." "The party is over, we believe, in terms of trying to design that cool, tech savvy smartphone," he said. "Microsoft has over $50 billion in cash, RIM has $1.5 billion. There is no way they'll be able to compete."

  • Exploding BlackBerry

    The family of 11-year-old Kian McCreath of Coventry, U.K., gave RIM some of its worst publicity in 2012, telling the media the boy was burned and left with permanent scarring when his BlackBerry Curve 9320 exploded. Although cell phones that are left to charge too long are known to explode, for RIM the news represented a horrible publicity disaster that came just weeks ahead of the launch of its BlackBerry 10.



A FIRST LOOK AT THE BLACKBERRY 10
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  • BlackBerry 10 First Look

    In email, when you select a message, it swoops in from the side.

  • BlackBerry 10 Preview

    A look at the "Glance" view on attachments in email.

  • BlackBerry 10 Preview

    A look at the new touchscreen keyboard, with predictions of what word you are going to type next. Hold down the letter and swipe up briefly to choose that word.

  • BlackBerry 10 Preview

    Another look at the predictive keyboard.

  • BlackBerry 10 Preview

    The phone call screen. Swipe up to dismiss, down to answer.

  • BlackBerry 10 Preview

    The phone call screen.