BlackBerry workers about to be hit hard with layoffs

Steven Loeb · September 18, 2013 · Short URL:

Company reportedly looking to downsize by 40%, which will mean firing roughly 5,000 employees

I'm sure there is some amount of schadenfreude when it comes to BlackBerry's high profile failures lately, as there always is when a big company starts to go south. Everyone who hated their products, or thought they were a bad company, seems to bask in the glow of being right. But there is another aspect that those people seem to ignore: all the people who are going to lose their jobs as a result of that downturn.

After slowing layoff people off this summer, BlackBerry is about the bring the hammer down in a big, big way. And it is going to be ugly.

The company is now in preparations for cutting a full 40% of its workforce, across all departments, it was reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

The cuts will reportedly come in waves, I suppose to make them go down a bit easier, but the end result will be the same: thousands of people are about to be out of work.

In March, BlackBerry had 12,700 employees. It has since laid off 250 employees in new product testing and R&Dgot rid of another 100 jobs in August at its Waterloo, Ontario headquarters and fired 60 members of its sales team last week. That leaves 12,290 workers; 40% of that is 4,916 employees who will lose their jobs.

These layoffs are on top of the 5,000 jobs that BlackBerry was forced to cut last year as well, so make that nearly 10,000 people in two years. Ugh.

"Organizational moves will continue to occur to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive new opportunities in mobile computing," a BlackBerry spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.

The once dominant smartphone maker is making these moves to bring down costs as it looks into ways to accelerate the employment of the  BB 10. One of those options is for the company to sell itself; reducing staff and expenses is a way for the company to look more attractive to prospective buyers.

That may all be for naught, though, as reports have come out that some the company's sutiors, including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Bain Capital, and Chinese smartphone and computer maker Lenovo Group are more interested in buying individual parts of BlackBerry, most notably its operating system and the patents around its keyboard.

So, maybe, just maybe, these job cuts will actually be for the best in the long run: it will give those people more time to go and look for a job, instead of waiting around for the company they work for to be broken apart and sold for parts. 

Still, this is tough news to swallow all around.

VatorNews has reached out to BlackBerry but the company could not be reached for comment.

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