BlackBerry cut 250 employees from its new product testing site earlier this week, a move that in some ways was expected after posting weaker than expected first quarter results. According to the company, these employees worked in a department that supports BlackBerry’s manufacturing and R&D efforts.
“This is part of the next stage of our turnaround plan to increase efficiencies and scale our company correctly for new opportunities in mobile computing. We will be as transparent as possible as those plans evolve,” says Lisette Kwong, a company spokeswoman.
The recent cuts extend BlackBerry’s spate of layoffs that it announced last year. The struggling handset maker announced last year it would cut roughly 5,000 workers by the end of its fiscal year. But, ultimately, it closed out fiscal 2012 with only 3,800 positions eliminated.
Theoretically, that leaves 1,200 positions that BlackBerry may wish to later apply to more cuts. And with the 250 layoffs in its product testing area this week, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the remaining 900 positions eventually eliminated in the coming quarters.
When BlackBerry announced its weak quarterly results last month, Kwong, at the time, noted the company was “intensely focused on maintaining a strong balance sheet and delivering efficiency across the organization.” And although she had declined at the time to speculate whether more layoffs were being contemplated, apparently they were, as evidenced by the cuts this week.
BlackBerry is facing tough times as it battles to regain market share lost to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android platforms. In the March quarter, Google held 52 percent of the smartphone platform market share, while Apple captured 39 percent. BlackBerry, however, held a paltry 5.2 percent share, according to research firm comScore.
And while it has rolled out its long-awaited BlackBerry 10 smartphone, the traction it’s received from users has been rather lackluster in the eyes of Wall Street. BlackBerry’s CEO is banking on time to win customers over, but, in the meantime, employees may be wondering how much time they have at the company.