Mike Kirkup, the head of developer relationships for Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM), resigned Wednesday.

Kirkup announced his decision on a blog.

RIM, best known for its BlackBerry smartphone, maintains a research and development operation in the Triangle.

The company has been under growing pressure in the smartphone and tablet markets from Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). Its smartphone share dropped in 12 percent in the second quarter from 19 percent a year ago, according to statistics cited by Bloomberg news.

“After an incredible journey with RIM, I have resigned as Senior Director, Global Developer Relations today.

“As the mobile space continues to change so quickly and this seems like a great time to step back and consider my next steps. If you wonder what I mean about the changing mobile landscape, just look at what has happened in the last two weeks – Motorola was acquired by Google, HP shut down webOS and Steve Jobs resigned as CEO from Apple.

“Over my 10 year career I have worked with so many amazing individuals both inside RIM and in our broader developer community. This is a great company with leaders I respect and admire. It has been an honour to share in the success and growth of such an extraordinary company.

“The opportunity to work in Developer Relations has been one that I will never forget. To be exposed to so many great ideas and the people behind them has been inspiring. To manage the variety of challenges each and every day has been something which helped me grow personally.”

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