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RIM reduces headcount in $1bn cost-cutting effort

Research In Motion has started cutting jobs as it tries to achieve its stated goal of slashing US$1 billion in costs by the end of fiscal 2013, the company said on Wednesday.

The company did not specify the number of jobs cut or where headcount was reduced. The job cuts were in line with a May 29 announcement, when the company said that it would look to reduce headcount and spending, said a RIM spokesman in email.

RIM has committed to achieving significant efficiencies and operating cost reductions over the course of this fiscal year, the spokesman said. RIM reports first-quarter 2013 earnings on June 28, when it will provide an update on its business.

RIM makes BlackBerry devices and has said competitive pressures are hurting its business, with devices running Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android OS gaining market share. About 9.7 million BlackBerry phones shipped in the first quarter this year for a market share of 6.4%, a decline from the 13.8 million units that shipped for a 13.6% market share in the first quarter of 2011, according to IDC.

The company is also hurting financially. In its May 29 announcement, RIM warned that it expects an operating loss for the first fiscal quarter of 2013, which ended on June 2. The company also said it had hired two investment banks — J.P. Morgan and RBC Capital Markets — to review the company’s “various financial strategies, including opportunities to leverage the BlackBerry platform through partnerships, licensing opportunities and strategic business model alternatives.”

The company in March reported a net loss of $125 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, and a 25 percent year-over-year decline in revenue, to $4.2 billion.

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