Troubled BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) confirmed that it has started laying off employees as part of a company restructuring initiative aimed at saving at least $1 billion by the end of its 2013 financial year.
In an emailed statement, the Waterloo, Ontario-based company on Wednesday said it has "reduced some positions as part of its program and may continue to do so as the company methodically works through a review of the business."
The company did not specify how many employees would be laid off, but said it would provide more information when it reports quarterly financial results on June 28. Rumors swirled late last month that RIM would be shedding at least 2,000 employees this summer.
According to the The Wall Street Journal, RIM has been laying off at least 10 employees at a time over the past several weeks.
"RIM has committed to achieving significant efficiencies and operating cost reductions over the course of this fiscal year," the company's statement reads. "Our financial target is to drive at least $1 billion in savings by the end of fiscal 2013 … and headcount reductions are part of this initiative."
RIM last year slashed 2,000 jobs, or 11 percent of its global work force at the time. After that round of layoffs, RIM had about 16,500 employees worldwide.
RIM has faced several disappointing financial quarters in a row as it struggles to deal with the popularity of Apple's iPhone and smartphones based on Google's Android. The company recently hired bankers from J.P. Morgan and RBC Capital to help evaluate its strategic options.
Earlier this week, Canadian contract electronics manufacturer Celestica announced plans to part ways with RIM, its largest customer. Celestica said it would "wind down" manufacturing services for RIM over the next three to six months as RIM shrinks its supply base.
RIM also has undergone a series of executive shakeups this year. In the most high profile departure, former co-CEO Jim Balsillie stepped down from his position on RIM's board of directors in late March. RIM also this year announced the departure of Alistair Mitchell, former vice president of BBM Platform and Integrated Services; Alan Brenner, senior vice president in charge of the BlackBerry Platform; David Yach, chief software technology officer; and Jim Rowan, chief operation officer for Global Operations.
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