Still struggling, BlackBerry lays off 250 more employees

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Things still aren't looking up for BlackBerry, as the struggling Canadian phone maker revealed Thursday it will lay off 250 more employees as part of a continuing plan to cut costs and rescale its operations.



BlackBerry made the job cuts earlier this week and confirmed the personnel decisions on Thursday in a statement to AllThingsD. The 250 employees worked at a Waterloo, Ontario, product-testing facility, and they are the latest among thousands that BlackBerry (n?e Research In Motion) has cut over the past few years.

The layoffs were not entirely without warning. BlackBerry confirmed during its annual shareholder meeting that ? following a dismal quarter that saw the firm losing $84 million ? more layoffs were coming. In the last fiscal year, BlackBerry has let go of more than 5,000 staff.

The shift in the smartphone market brought about by the entry of Apple's iPhone caught BlackBerry unprepared, and the phone maker has been struggling to adjust ever since. In its heyday, BlackBerry shipped upwards of 14 million phones in a quarter, but that number has fallen to just 6.8 million this past quarter, with the majority of those not even running the company's most recent operating system.

BlackBerry's attempts at responding to Apple's rise have failed repeatedly. The company lost half a billion dollars on its poorly-received PlayBook iPad competitor, and the head of the division that released that device is now leaving the company, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The release of BlackBerry 10 and the two flagship devices running the new operating system was meant to bring the company back to some form of relevance. Sales of those units, though, have apparently fizzled, leading to last quarter's disappointing numbers.

BlackBerry officials still cast the layoffs and restructurings as a means of creating a leaner, more efficient company.

?These employees were part of the New Product Testing Facility, a department that supports BlackBerry?s manufacturing and R&D efforts,? spokesman Alex Kinsella said. ?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.?
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    mikejonesmikejones Posts: 323member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    BlackBerry officials still cast the layoffs and restructurings as a means of creating a leaner, more efficient company.


    Translation: They're bullshitting with buzzword speak about what the real issues are.

  • Reply 2 of 31
    negafoxnegafox Posts: 480member
    BlackBerry was too late to modernize its mobile OS and hardware, and as a result, this has become a two-party race between Android and iOS. At this point, BlackBerry should rethink their strategy to offer software and services for third-party mobile hardware and OSes rather than develop their own. Become a software company, more or less.

    Or, perhaps offer BlackBerry branded Android phones with BlackBerry software on it. As it currently stands though, BB10 was DOA.
  • Reply 3 of 31
    Blackberry at best will survive as a niche player. Most likely it will cease to exist in a couple of years. I am so glad for having left before the boat was going to sink. When iPhone 4 was already out, most people at RIM were still in denial, people were still gloating about antenna gate. Now 3 years have passed, BB10 in many ways is still behind iPhone 1
  • Reply 4 of 31
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,693member
    So they previously fired people in marketing and sales, so their efforts there are less than they were before. Now, they're firing people in testing of new products, so they will lack some of their ability there as well.

    Yup, this is they way a confident company acts.
  • Reply 5 of 31
    mikejonesmikejones Posts: 323member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by melgross View Post



    So they previously fired people in marketing and sales, so their efforts there are less than they were before. Now, they're firing people in testing of new products, so they will lack some of their ability there as well.



    Yup, this is they way a confident company acts.


    But it looks great on the bottom line and the CEO will get a fat bonus for improving quarterly profits. Who needs stupid things like new product R&D and testing, anyway?

  • Reply 6 of 31
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,980member
    Sad, and I'd bet the farm that the ones that should've gotten fired didn't.
  • Reply 7 of 31
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,693member
    mikejones wrote: »
    Translation: They're bullshitting with buzzword speak about what the real issues are.

    Last year, Heins stated that they were looking for a suitor for the company, in other words, a buyer. Samsung was mentioned by some as negotiating with them, but Samsung denied it.

    What they are doing looks to me to be preparing for a company sale. They have sold plant and equipment, offices, fired many thousands from every department. Have now finally discontinued the Playbook, the "professional" tablet, and are now firing people needed to sell and evaluate new products.

    Meanwhile, despite all their problems, their cash and investments keep rising. Why would that be? Blackberry supporters like to point out that cash and investment as good news. News that the company is doing well. But it isn't. It's another sign that Heins is prepping the company for a sale. That cash is now a large portion of the value of the stock, and if they can keep it up, will continue to be. But they may not be able to continue that cash rise as sales continue to fall, and profits become more difficult to come by. And those profits? They're being driven not by sales, not by a high msrp, but by the elimination of plant and staff. Shortly, they will run out of things to sell, and people to fire.
  • Reply 8 of 31
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    This is more about making this pig look good to a new suitor
    Prep for buyout
  • Reply 9 of 31
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,693member
    dasanman69 wrote: »
    Sad, and I'd bet the farm that the ones that should've gotten fired didn't.

    At this point in time, it's too late. It doesn't really matter what they do. They're trying to become an MDM. An MDM is a company that supply's software and services to enhance security and overall usefulness of mobile devices to business and government. But the entire MDM industry now is about $500 million a year. So even if they were able to enter this, it wouldn't save the company.
  • Reply 10 of 31
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,569member


    Someone needs to put this one out of its misery it is the only humane thing to do at this time.


     


    The Governments were BB last hold out and they have already made decision to move on. You know when governments which take years to makes simply decisions are acting faster than a company can figure out what to do you know you're done.

  • Reply 11 of 31
    captain jcaptain j Posts: 313member
    BB10 was their last gasp. I think we can safely stick a fork in them.
  • Reply 12 of 31
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member


    Time to turn the lights out.

  • Reply 13 of 31
    bunlobunlo Posts: 28member
    Business world is like Competing in the field, there are only one first runner, sometimes you, sometimes me, but if you don't practice, keep it up, you are definitely not going to be first. But that's ok, it is hard to become first, even Lance Armstrong has his problem to become first. Let's hope BB remember who he was and keep it up, I don't want to see me using BB in 10 years future, but if one day I do, BB must be the best phone in the world! Cheers!
  • Reply 14 of 31
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    bwhagain wrote: »
    Blackberry at best will survive as a niche player. Most likely it will cease to exist in a couple of years. I am so glad for having left before the boat was going to sink. When iPhone 4 was already out, most people at RIM were still in denial, people were still gloating about antenna gate. Now 3 years have passed, BB10 in many ways is still behind iPhone 1

    Good for you to see this. Sad for yet another bulk layoff. Too bad the company didn't act, right after the keynote on Jan 9, 2007,
  • Reply 15 of 31
    mikejonesmikejones Posts: 323member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post





    Good for you to see this. Sad for yet another bulk layoff. Too bad the company didn't act, right after the keynote on Jan 9, 2007,


    It is quite a shame since both them and Palm could still both have had a major presence in the industry and done some great new things had they not been blinded by their arrogance.


     


    "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in."


     


    One of the funniest CEO quotes of that decade.

  • Reply 16 of 31
    captain j wrote: »
    BB10 was their last gasp. I think we can safely stick a fork in them.

    The good thing is that they had several post-iPhone years to make a run at a comeback. But the old management was in denial and/or slow to react. And, consider this: if a company as loved and dominant as Microsoft couldn't muscle their way out of single-digit mobile market share with Windows Phone 7 & 8, it's probably a bigger challenge than smaller & less diversified BlackBerry can handle. So yes, unless they can do better than "iPhone Clone+," it's lights out for them.
  • Reply 17 of 31
    philboogiephilboogie Posts: 7,438member
    mikejones wrote: »

    "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in."

    One of the funniest CEO quotes of that decade.

    Don't forget the AllThingsD session, referencing iTunes on Windows:

    "It's like giving a glass of ice water to someone in hell"
  • Reply 18 of 31


    Well my buddies still have a job, likely because they're involved in QNX, which is still a successful product outside of BB. It was fun to attend Waterloo in the 80's - so much cool stuff came out of there.

  • Reply 19 of 31
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member


    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    These employees were part of the New Product Testing Facility ...


     


    Cutting development of new products would 1. make the new product QA group redundant and 2. reduce expenses to make the company more attractive to potential buyers.


     


     





    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    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.


     



    Translation: "We're cutting expenses to make the company more attractive to potential buyers."


    BlackBerry has exactly two opportunities in mobile computing: a buyout or non-existence.

  • Reply 20 of 31
    jblongzjblongz Posts: 146member


    I hope blackberry developers can find work on android or other java/C based platforms.  But it's time for BB to go.  They screwed customers for years with subpar functionality and only offered marginally better security.  Then they had the audacity to be bold about their "dominance" through the face of Jim Balsillie.  I hope to see better work from Ubuntu and Android to keep Apple on their toes.

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