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BlackBerry maker RIM cuts 2,000 jobs

Cost-cutting will bring handsets to market quicker, RIM reckons...
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Cost-cutting will bring handsets to market quicker, RIM reckons...

BlackBerry PlayBook

The BlackBerry PlayBook: RIM's take on the tablet for enterprise usersPhoto: RIM

BlackBerry maker RIM is cutting 2,000 jobs - one-tenth of its workforce - as it battles to regain its position in the smartphone market.

RIM announced the cuts today as part of a "cost optimisation programme". According to the company, the move is intended to create "greater alignment of the organisation and to streamline RIM's operations in order to better position the company for future growth and profitability".

While RIM's BlackBerry was once the must-have device for executives, in recent years the mobile maker has faced stiff competition first from Apple's iPhone and subsequently from Google's Android OS, which have cut into its share of the smartphone market.

RIM's attempt at creating an enterprise tablet device to rival Apple's iPad - the PlayBook - has met with little enthusiasm from CIOs.

Gartner Research VP Carolina Milanesi told silicon.com that RIM needs to change its emphasis to touchscreen and embrace social: "RIM continues to focus on security and Qwerty as its trademarks, when security means very little to consumers and when most businesses are okay with good enough security. Qwerty might still be popular with teenagers - especially when you throw in a BlackBerry Messenger service for free - but most users have fully embraced touch.

"To get back on track RIM needs to move beyond messaging, continue to embrace social and strengthen its apps ecosystem while delivering a rich touch-only device."

Along with the job cuts, RIM unveiled some changes to its management team aimed at getting new products launched faster.

The company announced the retirement of COO Don Morrison. COO of product engingeering Thorsten Heins will take on the expanded role of COO, product and sales, RIM said. All hardware and software teams will report to him which, according to RIM, will "help to accelerate new product introductions in the future".

The company's CIO Robin Bienfait is also taking on responsibility for the Enterprise Business Unit, where he will focus on customer service and improving RIM's position in the enterprise sector. David Yach, RIM's CTO of software, will focus on current and future software platforms, as well as the surrounding developer and application ecosystem.

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