RIM Swings Its Axe, Then Axed by Seesmic

Research in Motion (RIM) began laying off workers this week as part of its “cost optimization program” according to the Toronto Star, though RIM did not confirm the amount of its reduction by press time.

The number of layoffs cannot be verified, but most reports peg it at around 200 workers, and most are believed to be in its manufacturing space. However, RIM has also severed many third-party ties recently including some of its marketers working on its PlayBook campaigns.

The week’s layoffs come shortly after a gloomy earnings report for the quarter that ended in May. RIM’s revenue dropped 12% to $4.9 billion, down from $5.6 billion in the same quarter last year. Net profit also fell from $769 million to $695 million during the same time period.

RIM said it shipped roughly 500,000 PlayBook units in Q1 2011. The tablet went on sale this week in India starting at Rs 32,000 ($705) for the 16GB version.

RIM’s stock has dropped more than 50% in 2011 alone largely due to its loss in smartphone market share. Earlier this month Apple overtook RIM as the US’ second place in the smartphone platform market share, according to comScore. RIM ended Q1 with just 25.7% of the market.

The bad news got worse as Seesmic, a social networking tool that has deep integration with services like Twitter, announced it will phase out its app support for BlackBerry.

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