Rumors and reports of layoffs at RIM have been swirling around for weeks now, and now the Waterloo company has confirmed what we all expected — they’re letting people go in an effort as part of their bid to save $1 billion by 2013.
Unsurprisingly, RIM’s stock has taken a tumble this morning — at time of writing, their stock price has dipped nearly 5% from its position when market opened.
Exactly how many people they’re planning to set loose is still shrouded in mystery, though there’s been no shortage of speculation. In recent weeks, numbers as high as 6,000 have been making the rounds, though all RIM’s spokepeople said in their official statement was that some positions have already been eliminated and that the company may continue doing so as they “methodically work through a review of the business.”
At this point it’s all too easy to predict nothing but doom and gloom for the Canadian smartphone company, but it’s not quite that simple. Though those who are being let go probably won’t find any solace in the official rationale, it’s clear at this point that RIM has hunkered down into survival mode as they work on their nascent BlackBerry 10 platform.
While all this has been going on, the company has been conducting a handful of BlackBerry Jam developer events around the world in an attempt to build some momentum around BlackBerry 10 (the latest took place yesterday in New York). Naturally, RIM is taking this process very seriously — they’ve handed out something like 5,000 of their Dev Alpha devices to developers, which they’ll eventually be able to trade in for a full-fledged BlackBerry 10 device when they eventually make their way to market.
RIM hasn’t publicly commented on what this program is costing them, but it’s arguably worth it if they’re able to infuse BlackBerry 10 with a strong, committed developer base, especially as they’ll face strong (and perhaps overwhelming) competition from Apple and Google. Of course, it’ll be a while before we how RIM’s efforts on this front play out, but they’re doing what they can to give BlackBerry 10 a fighting chance.