Major RIM layoffs expected

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Inc. could cut thousands of jobs as early as this week, as the smartphone company continues to see sluggish sales.

Company to report quarterly financial results on Friday

RIM, maker of BlackBerry devices such as the Playbook tablet, could be set to announce layoffs this week. (Paul Sakuma/Associated Press)

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Inc. could cut thousands of jobs as early as this week, as the smartphone company continues to see sluggish sales.

Published media reports suggest the Waterloo, Ont.-based company will announce major cuts to its workforce in the next little while, possibly as early as Friday, when the company's fiscal quarter ends.

When asked to confirm or deny the reports by CBC News, a RIM spokesperson had no comment.

After pioneering the smartphone industry with its BlackBerry device aimed at busy executives, the company has seen its market share of the smartphone industry dwindle.

Slumping stock price

Data from research firm IDC suggests the company's market share of the global smartphone market now sits at seven per cent. RIM's stock price has lost 75 per cent of its value over the last 12 months.

The company has already seen its workforce shrink by 2,000 people during calendar 2011. At its peak, RIM employed 20,000, but that figure has slumped to about 17,000 as the company's dominance eroded over the past several quarters.

Citing two unnamed sources with close connections to RIM, the Reuters news agency reported Monday that figure will be closer to 10,000 by early next year.

The company has already shaken up its executives ranks in recent months.

Founders and co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis were shown the door and replaced by CEO Thorsten Heins in January.

Last week, it was announced that RIM's global sales chief, Patrick Spence, had left the company. And on Monday, the company announced chief legal officer Karima Bawa is retiring from the company after 12 years of service.