Maker of the once uber-popular BlackBerry, Research In Motion (news, site), is doing everything it can to remain competitive. The company announced it is laying off a little over 10% of its 19,000-person staff and restructuring its leadership team. Will the changes be enough to improve performance at the troubled company?
RIM Struggles Continue
Research in Motion (RIM) has announced that it is laying off 2,000 employees as part of its efforts to reduce operating costs. Followers of RIM might remember that the first round of layoffs began in June when the company missed earnings projections by several hundred million and reported that revenue for the quarter was down 12%.
In addition to the layoffs, the company has also announced it is shaking up its executive team. The current Chief Operating Officer, Don Morrison, is planning to retire after his medical leave and Thorsten Heins is taking on the expanded role of COO, Product and Sales. The company has also said it is moving a number of executives into positions of greater power.
These announcements are further confirmation that RIM is struggling to survive in a more competitive mobile device market. Once the leading smartphone in the enterprise environment, the company’s market share has been substantially reduced as competition in the smartphone market increased due to the introduction of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android devices.
Although the layoffs will reduce RIM’s expenses, eliminating employees is not a long-term solution to RIM's woes.
Other Changes at RIM
To remain competitive, RIM must innovate. It must offer mobile devices with features similar to the other large players in the market. It must differentiate itself in the market with a unique product. RIM knows this, and has indicated it will begin selling smartphones running its new QNX operating system, which powers its PlayBook tablet.
However, there have been a number of delays in releasing a QNX-based smartphone. The new smartphones are unlikely to be available until early 2012. The new offering may face significant challenges if Apple releases its iPhone 5 before these devices are available.
Do you think RIM can turn things around? We would love to hear your thoughts.