The latest step in trying to save the sinking ship that is Blackberry maker Research in Motion is quite a drastic one.
At a corporate meeting, the once dominant mobile behemoth announced it will cut about 2,000 jobs from its roughly 19,000-employee workforce. That’s a mass exodus of 11% of the entire company, and spans the entire company from entry-levels to top executives.
While it is a staggering announcement, it should come as a surprise to virtually no one. In a market where that has historically been inflexible and very slow to change, RIM has been losing double-digit market share like there’s no tomorrow.
Companies are axing 10+ year relationships with Blackberry in favor of Android or the iPhone, and consumers see the word “Blackberry” as a relic – a far cry from the top-level standard it used to represent.
The Playbook is seen by many as the company’s last chance to stay on top before it’s completely gobbled up by Android or the iPhone, but it has a lot of competition. In addition to the iPad which is its direct competitor, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is making waves, and Motorola’s Xoom tablet – which will also be 4G-capable – is catching a lot of attention.
RIM’s last move to compete against the new mobile giants was a huge failure. The Blackberry Torch, the first to include RIM’s brand new Blackberry operating system, was seen as nothing more than a minor incremental upgrade to the increasingly-dated Blackberry software. The company is currently working on a new platform to launch with a handful of brand new, built-from-the-ground-up Blackberry phones. But it might be too little, too late.
RIM said it will be able to fully explain the impact of the job cuts when it announces its next quarterly earnings report, which will happen on September 15.