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After a Brutal Q4, RIM Layoffs Begin, Co-CEO Steps Down

Thorsten Heins

Thorsten Heins

If any further proof was needed that the days of the 'crackberry' as an essential part of a tech savvy person's ensemble were over, it was provided today by the news that Research In Motion has begun a series of layoffs that include people at the upper reaches of the company. These actions resulted from the unsettling news, elaborated on during an Investor call earlier today, that for the fifth quarter in a row, earnings missed earnings guidance; the company's fourth quarter earnings of 4.2 billion were well below the 4.6 billion projected, and a staggering 19 percent drop from quarter three. 

More troubling, in light of this string of missed goals, the company will discontinue offering guidance, evidence that they expect the situation to remain chaotic for some time to come. And speaking of chaos, the new period of uncertainty was inaugurated by reports that the company had begun culling staff even at high levels.

An anonymous source within Research In Motion told The Globe and Mail “Lots of high level people within RIM were let go today. Quite a few. Big shake up." Among them is former co-CEO Jim Balsillie. Already removed from his costarring role at the top of RIM, he has now also resigned from RIM's board of directors, effective today.

Jim Balsillie

Jim Balsillie

"[With] my retirement from RIM," Balsillie said during today's investor call, "I’m grateful for this remarkable experience and for the opportunity to have worked with outstanding professionals who helped turn a Canadian idea into a global success." No other laid off execs were named, though the aforementioned anonymous source claimed that sales and marketing staff, largely those who reported to Balsillie, were among those scheduled for redundancy.

During the call, new RIM CEO Thorsten Heins discussed the uncertainty of the company's current footing, and their plans to right the ship, assuming it can be done. "We are undertaking a comprehensive review of strategic opportunities," Heins said, "including partnerships and joint ventures, licensing, and other ways to leverage RIM's assets and maximize value for our stakeholders... It is very clear to me that substantial change is what RIM needs.” Few details were provided, but he hinted at a major shift in Blackberry operations. “We believe BlackBerry cannot succeed if we try to be everybody's darling and all things to all people.”

What that means is anyone's guess, but it's apparent that the Blackberry brand is nobody's darling at the moment. Time will tell if the spark can be rekindled.

  • plznote
    There goes our technology economy :'(.
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    Well, RIM, it was nice to meet you. A shame that you couldn't compete.
    Reply
  • husker
    At some point, smartphone data security will become the hot topic; possibly after a very unfortunate incident involving mass theft of personal data, banking info, etc., stolen from thousands of smart phones. A lot of financial transactions are now being conducted through these devices. Suddenly, people will get religion and remember why the blackberry was so popular in the first place.
    Reply
  • scannall
    They need to give up on the handset market. Make their money on their enterprise and phone security by porting it to iOS, Android and Windows 8.
    Reply
  • eddieroolz
    I think a corporate shakeup is necessary since the "old guard" gets stale and out of step very quickly. I hope that this shakeup will help RIM on its way to BB10.
    Reply
  • torque79
    The security in BB OS is obviously superior to both Android and IOS, as shown by the fact that both of the latter have consistently been easily jailbreaked, while I'd love to jailbreak my Playbook for example but it's STILL impossible. Plus, execs at my company have tried to move to iphones for business email use and are very frustrated by its lousy interface and cumbersome access methods. BB is still king for business use, IOS and Android are nothing but toys.
    Reply
  • the real mr b
    Expected numbers ... Anyone thinking RIM would show a better Q4 is retarded. The business is going under major changes right now and I believe they have all the necessary "objects" to bounce back. Looking forward to see BlackBerry 10 phones.
    Reply
  • "BB is still king for business use, IOS and Android are nothing but toys."

    Spoken like a complete idiot. First off, Blackberries aren't actually more secure, they've been rooted/hacked/jailbroken already. It was demonstrated last year actually. The reason it's not more prevalent? There's zero need to because there isn't anything worth doing on the platform except for ancient apps and BBM.

    RIM as a company is a dinosaur and simply cannot compete with the fast growing market. Goodbye and good riddance.
    Reply
  • hragarand
    Translation - we had it so good for so long as we gorged ourselves on prior success. In order to maintain the status quo we decided we knew what was best for our customer versus innovating to meet the changing needs of the market - after all chang is difficult. We will not provide guidance going forward but in order to look busy for Wall Street and any future employeers we inteview with, we will be sprucing up and rearranging the chairs on our Titanic.
    Reply