RIM cuts 11 percent of workforce

Jul 26, 2011 7:12 AM
Chief operating officer to retire.

Research In Motion said it plans to cut about 2000 jobs, or 11 percent of its workforce, detailing cuts that it first announced last month.

One analyst said the job cuts were slightly deeper than expected, but were key to RIM's recovery from a slump triggered by stiff competition from Apple Inc and Google Inc.

"This is not totally unexpected. I think the size of (the cuts) is a little bit bigger than what they were intimating before," said Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek.

"I think this is obviously realigning the cost structure to a new growth, or sales reality."

RIM said one-time charges from the job cuts were not included in its outlook for the second quarter or for the full year, and it would explain the financial impact of the cuts when it reports second quarter results on Sept. 15.

The stock, already near multi-year lows, was down as much as 2 percent before the market opened.

RIM said the job cuts are "a prudent and necessary step" for its long-term success.

The BlackBerry maker also announced a string of changes to executive responsibilities and, in the latest departure, said Chief Operating Officer Don Morrison would retire.

Morrison, currently on temporary medical leave, will be leaving after more than 10 years at the company.

RIM said when it reported first quarter results last month that it would cut jobs to stay competitive, but it gave no details at the time.

It said on Monday that the job cuts bring RIM's headcount to about 17,000 people.

Misek, who has an 'underperform' rating on RIM's stock, said one thing to watch was when RIM would adopt its new QNX operating system.

"I think the key here, more than ever, is when do their products launch and what kind of reception will they have and most importantly, when will QNX come in. We don't think those answers are here yet," he said.

(Reporting by S. John Tilak, Euan Rocha in Toronto, Aftab Ahmed in Bangalore; editing by Janet Guttsman)