07/25/2011 07:44 EDT | Updated 09/24/2011 05:12 EDT

RIM Job Cuts: BlackBerry Maker To Cut 2,000 Positions


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- WATERLOO, Ont. -- Research In Motion says it will cut about 11 per cent of its workforce this year, eliminating 2,000 jobs worldwide in an effort to save money in the increasingly competitive smartphone and tablet market.

The BlackBerry-maker provided the details on Monday, about a month after first revealing it would reduce its workforce by an unspecified number of jobs.

The job cuts are the largest in the Canadian technology icon's history and come after several years of rapid global growth and expansion.

"The workforce reduction is believed to be a prudent and necessary step for the long term success of the company," RIM said in a release before stock markets opened the week Monday.

"It follows an extended period of rapid growth within the company whereby the workforce had nearly quadrupled in the last five years alone."

RIM (TSX:RIM), based in Waterloo, Ont., currently has about 19,000 employees across its operations so the latest cuts amount to 11 per cent of the workforce, much of it in southwestern Ontario whre the company started.

The company noted that any severance payments or other charges related to the job cuts are not included in its second-quarter and full-year outlook.

The job cuts come as RIM faces off against a barrage of new competition in the smartphone market with the emergence of Apple's iPhone and smartphones with Google's Android operating system.

The flurry of new competitors has hurt its share in the important U.S. market.

RIM's PlayBook tablet, which met expectations of selling 500,000 in the recent quarter, has received lukewarm reviews compared with Apple's iPad.

RIM said it expects to provide more information on the layoffs when the company reports fiscal second-quarter results Sept. 15.

In pre-market trading in the United States, RIM's shares fell 41 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to US$27.50.

In another development, RIM also said that chief operating officer Don Morrison will retire after taking a temporary medical leave last month.

His job will be filled by Thorsten Heins who will take an expanded role of chief operating officer that includes all product engineering functions.

The company said that Heins' new role "is expected to both produce greater efficiencies and help to accelerate new product introductions in the future."