RIM plunges after it axes 2,000 staff

Steve Dinneen
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SMARTPHONE maker Research In Motion (RIM) plunged more that 4.4 per cent yesterday after it announced it would axe a tenth of its global workforce.

The firm, best known for its BlackBerry range, has struggled in the face of soaring demand for Apple’s iPhone and handsets running Google’s Android, especially those made by Samsung.

Its market share in the US smartphone market is on the decline, slipping from first place earlier this year to fall behind Android, with 28.7 per cent compared to Google’s 34.7 per cent. The high-margin iPhone has a 25.5 per cent share.

RIM’s first foray into the nascent tablet market earlier this year with the PlayBook met with critical disdain and customer apathy.

The share slump means RIM has now shed 45 per cent of its value in the last 12 months.

In a bid to stop the rot, the Canadian firm announced a shake-up among its top executives. It said one of its three chief operating officers, Don Morrison, would retire and the other two, Thorsten Heins and Jim Rowan, would take on additional responsibilities.

However, analysts were sceptical, and highlighted the shared chief executive and chairman roles, currently split between Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, as a more pertinent problem.

Altogether 2,000 staff will be cut, leaving a workforce of 17,000.

The firm, which described the cost reduction as “a prudent and necessary step” for its long-term success, said it would inform employees who will lose their jobs this week.