RIM Layoffs Hit Quality Control, Operations, Parts

Research in Motion’s layoffs have begun at the struggling company, as it attempts to trim $1 billion in operating expenses. The BlackBerry maker has been laying off batches of 10 workers over recent weeks, including employees in its quality control, operations and parts departments, The Wall Street Journal says.

Layoffs of at least 2,000 workers have been expected at RIM, though that number could hit as many as 6,000, a Reuters report noted in May. Last July, RIM shaved off 2,000 workers, leaving about 16,500 globally.

A number of high-level executives have left the company, including Karima Bawa, RIM’s chief legal officer;  Patrick Spence, managing director of sales; and Senior Vice President Alan Brenner, who was in charge of in-house software applications like BlackBerry Traffic. Other junior staff have been let go in a series of “Goodbye Thursdays,” as they have been known internally.

The Globe and Mail quoted one one former RIM executive, saying, “They’ve been axing people on the sly for months.”

RIM is betting its future on a new lineup of phones based on the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which is due out later this year. But Toronto-based electronics supplier Celestica is shutting down BlackBerry production, which made up nearly one-fifth of that supplier’s revenue.

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