RIM already starting layoffs with 200 pink slips?

RIM announced last week during their rough Q1 conference call that they would be performing a “headcount” as a “streamlining exercise”, which is more commonly known as layoffs. Local media are reporting that the process has already begun, with roughly 200 employees already out the door. The maker of BlackBerry hasn’t confirmed or denied the report – not that we weren’t expecting the layoffs sooner or later. The source of the report says that many of the positions being axed are in manufacturing.

We’ve already seen some departures at the executive level, including their online marketing VP, Chief Operating Officer Don Morrison is on a medical leave of absence, and soon their Chief Marketing Officer will be leaving as well. That said, it’s both the leadership and the rank-and-file that are being pared down, for better or worse.

Amid all of the bad press, it’s easy to forget that RIM has remained profitable, and that layoffs might seem¬†counter-intuitive; wouldn’t they want more manpower in order to speed up product development and get competitive again? To an extent, RIM has been doing that by way of numerous acquisitions, like The Astonishing Tribe, Tungle, and Gist. My impression is that RIM’s biggest problems internally stem from an overbearing bureaucracy, which is a natural thing to expect considering for the last 15 years they’ve been appealing to and doing business with other enterprises. Now that RIM is trying to squeeze into the growingly-crowded consumer fast lane, it makes sense that they shift gears and remove any internal hurdles product developers face. Of course, if RIM isn’t shipping as many phones as they had in the past, cutting down on hardware production would be an easy decision to make.

That’s probably the most optimistic way to look at it, but what do you guys think? Is this the first sign of RIM’s long, slow bleeding-out?

[via 570 News]

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