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RIM to cut 6,000 jobs?

BlackBerry maker RIM could cut up to 6,000 jobs next week, according to a report.

The bad times continue in the tech industry. Struggling BlackBerry-maker RIM could be about to cut up to 6,000 jobs, Reuters reports.

Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail puts the number at 2,000 jobs, but a source close to RIM told Reuters the higher figure. The cuts could affect the legal, marketing, sales, operations, and human resources divisions worldwide.

The cuts are expected around 1 June, a day before the company's first quarter ends, but some expect the announcement even earlier. It seems as though we'll find out either way very soon.

Reuters' source seems unsure about RIM's direction. The source said: "The strategic question is: are you accelerating into a better future or shrinking to a niche operation?"

Recently appointed chief executive Thorsten Heins and chief financial officer Brian Bidulka said during the last earnings call that they would streamline operations and save $1 billion in the fiscal year. So looks like these rumours could well be correct.

RIM has around 16,500 staff worldwide, so losing 6,000 jobs would be a huge chunk of the workforce. About 36 per cent, if my maths is correct. Last July it announced plans to lose 2,000 jobs. It's also been letting go junior members of staff on such a regular basis that the practice has become known as 'Goodbye Thursdays', as that's the day of the week the meetings usually take place.

Earlier this month, RIM set out a load of hyperbole and marketing guff about how it was taking care of business. It didn't leave anyone convinced. In the first three months of this year, the company lost £78m, joining Sony and Panasonic in posting cataclysmic results recently. Sony is also cutting jobs, as is HP: no fewer than 27,000, in the latter's case.

Tough times. What can RIM do to turn around its fortunes? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.