The downward spiral of Research in Motion continues, possibly at an even faster rate than analysts had predicted.

On Monday, RIM stated that over 10% of its workforce would be cut starting this week in North America (most likely at its Waterloo, Ontario headquarters), with worldwide cuts to follow in upcoming weeks. Some 2,000 employees are being laid off by the Canadian BlackBerry manufacturer, more than many analysts expected, in an attempt to reverse the financial decline that the company is suffering.

The company also officially announced the departure of Chief Operating Officer Don Morrison, who had been on medical leave for the past several weeks.

RIM’s woes are a combination of factors. The company’s chief product line -- virtually their only product line -- is falling out of favor. The BlackBerry, which added email to cellphones and almost single-handedly coined the term ‘smartphone’ and virtually dominated the market for a decade until the end of last year, began to see its market share eroded by two high-profile up-and-comers: Apple and Android.

Whereas high-profile celebrity use and widespread enterprise integration had satisfied a wide range of users during the first decade of this century, BlackBerry was slow to combat the mainstream appeal of the touchscreen friendliness or app-driven experience of the new crop of smartphones. The US share price of RIM has been cut in half over the past four quarters, and promises of an upcoming revamp of the product line are failing to reassure investors.

Indeed, recent product offerings have been less than invigorating. RIM’s PlayBook tablet was lauded for several groundbreaking elements of its operating system, but most critics found it disappointing and somewhat behind the curve. When it came to sales figures, reigning tablet market leader Apple had approximately 20 times the sales with its iPad 2.


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