The layoffs at RIM have finally begun: they're laying off 2000 people worldwide this week which will apparently bring them down to 17000 employees world-wide. They had 17500 employees in February and apparently they hired 1500 employees since then. The company was going to hell in a handbasket and they were still hiring? Wow. That makes absolutely no sense at all... like so many of the company's choices.
It isn't like RIM doesn't have any deadwood to get rid of - for a while there they were hiring just about anyone because they needed people so much. I worked with some people who did "negative work", by which I mean that everything they did had to be re-done by someone else. Getting rid of those people can only be good for the company. I'm also sure that there must be ways to streamline things in the company.
Sadly, it looks like RIM isn't changing its top structure all that much. One COO is leaving and the job is being split into two positions but Mike L and Jim B, the CIO, and the CTO are staying right where they are. In my opinion, RIM's problems are a direct result of Mike L's and Jim B's closed-mindedness, short-sightedness, and arrogance. They thought they knew the market better than anyone, that the market would do what they wanted to, that they understood the consumer, and that they didn't need to listen to anyone but themselves. Not to mention the fact that Jim B seemed to be more interested in buying himself a hockey team than running the company.
I'm not the only one who thinks the problems start at the top. This in-depth article is worth a read because it's written by someone who didn't actually work there and gives an historic look into the problems at the company. I also like this quote because it sums up the situation as I saw it in just a couple of sentences:
It’s not the employees that didn’t want to put a camera, MP3 player, or a touchscreen in the BlackBerry — that was the CEOs. I believe many of the employees see what’s wrong with the company, but as long as Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are running the show, RIM will continue to go down.
I very much hope that Mike L and Jim B have learned from the recent problems the company has been having (although I have my doubts). Mostly I hope that all my friends are safe and still have their jobs, or, if they'd rather, that they have a good severance package.
One door will close for some and another door will open for many. All good things must pass into better things. Try to think positive. Been there myself with a former High Flyer. This time RIM has a good chance of morphing to a stronger company - layoffs are just part of it's transformation. Perhaps it could start by spinning off it's key assets.
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