UPDATED 07:17 EST / JULY 25 2011

RIM to Lay Off 2000, Top Execs Play Musical Chairs

Research in Motion Ltd. will layoff 2,000 of its current workforce beginning this week.  The layoff will span departments across the entire company, and will be done in effort to refocus on areas that offer high growth opportunities.  The expenses for the layoff will all be disclosed when they publish their second quarter fiscal report on September 15, and current numbers don’t reflect severance packages and other benefits to be given to departing employees.

The company’s shuffle will include some top-level changes, as Chief Operating Officer for BlackBerry Dan Morrison is currently on medical leave and will retire without returning to the company.  Morrison’s role will be given to two people: Thorsten Heins and Jim Rowan.

Heins will become COO of product and sales and will be responsible for all hardware and software product engineering functions, while Rowan will become COO of operations, adding organizational development and facilities management functions to his existing responsibilities for manufacturing, global supply chain and repair services.

CIO Robin Bienfait and CTO David Yach will also take on additional responsibilities, while Patrick Spence will become managing director for global sales and regional marketing, reporting to Heins.  The two Co-CEOs, Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis, remains untouched and will continue to share the CEO role and that of chairman.

All product engineering functions, including both hardware and software teams, are being consolidated under Thorsten’s direction. This consolidation of product engineering functions is expected to both produce greater efficiencies and help to accelerate new product introductions in the future, a spokeperson for RIM stated.

Though they are cutting 2,000 employees, RIM is still hoping to survive the rapidly changing mobile economy.  They’ve recently acquired JayCuts, a Swedish company that offers an online video editor, which critics are saying was done to counter Apple’s iMovie.  Though plans for JayCuts is still not clear, RIM is pooling resources for an improved mobile OS, software and services.

Aside from this, RIM’s products were certified by the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) which is required for devices sold to U.S. federal government agencies.

“RIM, for all its troubles, does have more security certifications than anyone else, and these aren’t easy to come by,” Will Stofega, a research program director at IDC, told TechNewsWorld. “Security is important in the government, especially the federal government, and especially now with what we’re hearing about the problems in terms of mobile security.”

It seems that RIM’s boat is actually not sinking, as some would have us believe.  RIM is just unloading some excess baggage for a smoother ride.

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