May 30, 2012, 9:40 PM — Research in Motion, reeling as its BlackBerry takes a beating from the Apple iPhone and assorted Android smartphones, is expected to lay off anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 employees to cut costs and turn around its financial fortunes. While the exact number of layoffs from RIM's 16,000-plus staff remains to be confirmed, the restructured company appears headed for a high rank on this year's list of tech industry layoffs.
LOOK BACK: Bloodiest tech industry layoffs of 2011
RIM will have plenty of company from other telecom companies, including Nokia, which said in February it would whack 4,000 jobs upon moving more of its manufacturing from Europe and Mexico to Asia, where factories have larger scale and closer proximity to component makers. The moves dovetail with Nokia's effort to ramp up Windows Phone production as it focuses on that market in light of falling Symbian-based smartphone sales. Nokia finished its fiscal 2011 year with revenue down 21% in the fourth quarter and reported a loss, rather than a profit as it had the year before in the fourth quarter.
Nokia figured prominently among last year's top tech job cutters, axing some 7,500 jobs while refocusing on Windows Phone and handing over Symbian activities to Accenture.
Also on the telecom front, T-Mobile and Sprint have announced layoffs this year.
T-Mobile, recovering from the FCC's shooting down of its proposed $39 billion merger with AT&T, announced in March that call center consolidation would cost 1,900 workers their jobs. One AT&T official blamed the FCC's decision not to OK the deal for the T-Mobile layoffs.