BlackBerry Prepping to Slash Workforce by 40 Percent: Report

The new BlackBerry 10 OS hasn’t been enough to reverse BlackBerry’s tumble.

BlackBerry is preparing to slice up to 40 percent of its workforce by the end of 2013, according to anonymous sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal.

The layoffs will reportedly shrink the company’s overall operations and affect every department. A BlackBerry spokesperson refused to comment on the matter to the Journal.

BlackBerry bet the company on the success of its new BlackBerry 10 operating system, but its first two “hero” devices running the software—the Z10 and Q10—failed to make much of an impact when they arrived on the market earlier this year. On Sept. 18, BlackBerry also unveiled the larger Z30, which runs an updated version of BlackBerry 10 and features a five-inch AMOLED touchscreen and larger battery.

Once a dominant player in the mobile-device space, BlackBerry seemed helpless to respond as Google Android and Apple iOS slowly but surely chewed away its market-share over several quarters. As corporations adopted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, a flood of personal iPhones and Android devices helped displace BlackBerry as a mainstay of executives and office workers; BlackBerry’s efforts to build suitable touch-screens and a sizable app store also flagged behind equivalent efforts by Apple and a growing number of Android hardware manufacturers.

With profits and revenues tumbling, BlackBerry’s Board of Directors created a Special Committee to explore “strategic alternatives to enhance value and increase scale,” and appeared willing to consider selling the whole company off to the highest bidder. Analysts suggest the company’s patents alone are potentially worth billions, but no deals seem imminent.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry’s market-share continues to plunge. According to research firm Gartner, its portion of the global smartphone market stood at 2.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013, lagging behind Google Android, Apple’s iOS, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.


Image: BlackBerry