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RIM to cut thousands in global restructuring -- reports

A woman uses a BlackBerry phone.
A woman uses a BlackBerry phone.ADEK BERRY / AFP - Getty Images

Research in Motion, the company that makes the BlackBerry smartphone, is planning a global restructuring that could result in thousands of job cuts, reports say.

Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper, which originally reported the layoffs on Saturday, said the expected round of layoffs will touch around 2,000 employees, or 12 percent of the company’s workforce.

The newspaper also said the cuts are due to begin on June 1 -- one day before Research in Motion’s first quarter ends. But some expect the announcement even earlier.

A RIM spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports of layoffs. Research in Motion had about 16,500 employees worldwide as of March 2012.

A source close to the company told Reuters the number of impending layoffs could be higher and hit as many as 6,000 employees, affecting Research in Motion’s legal, marketing, sales, operations, and human resources divisions.

“The strategic question is: are you accelerating into a better future or shrinking to a niche operation,” said the source, who declined to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the job cuts.

The job cuts would be the second downsizing in a year for the Blackberry maker as it races to shrink its operations to compete with fierce rivals.

Once a smartphone sector heavyweight, Research in Motion has seen sales fall significantly as it has lost market share to Apple’s iPhone and smartphone makers who use Google’s Android software.

A string of high-profile departures has hit RIM in recent months. On Monday, the company said Chief Legal Officer Karima Bawa has resigned and will soon leave the company.

New chief executive officer Thorsten Heins, who took over from longtime co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie in January, is reorganizing the company and plans to streamline operations and save $1 billion in the fiscal year.

Reuters contributed to this report.

(Click here to check on Research in Motion's share price.)