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While laying off thousands, RIM is also hiring. Huh?

Research In Motion wants to beef up its BlackBerry developer-relations team while shedding thousands of positions elsewhere.

While Research In Motion is cutting about a third of its staff, the company is also psyched to be hiring a whole new crop of developers and developer-outreach folks. During this campaign season, I think it's safe to crown RIM's human resources department as King flip-flopper.

The few dozen positions posted today on the BlackBerry developer blog won't do much to replace the 5,000 jobs the struggling Canadian smartphone maker recently announced it would be shedding, but clearly RIM is attempting to beef up its pitch to developers ahead of the release of BlackBerry 10, while slimming down virtually everywhere else.

RIM is looking for 10 BlackBerry developer evangelists in seven countries, and a handful each of platform experts, Web developers, and marketing folks. All of the positions are apparently part of RIM's developer-relations team. A check of the company's @RIMCareers Twitter feed also surfaces a few other jobs in sales and patent departments.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins and other company executives have recently been defiant, declaring that the company is not, in fact, in a death spiral. Instead they tout a more slow-and-steady approach, playing the role of the Tortoise in the smartphone race, taking its time to develop the now long-delayed BlackBerry 10 OS. Only problem is, the "hares" in this metaphor don't seem to be slowing down to accommodate such a strategy.