According to a recent report BlackBerry axes 200 jobs under new turnaround plan to revive its enterprise software business. The move, which was announced Friday, was designed to make some savings.
The company wrote in an e-mail that the new plan involves decisions to make workforce more effective globally. The recent lay-offs target positions in Waterloo, Canada, where the smartphone maker is based, and Florida.
The company declined to reply a request for comment on how many employees in percentage points would be affected by the recent move. A report from last year showed that the tech company had 6,225 employees.
According to a government source, about 75 manufacturing positions in Florida will be eliminated under the new plan. BlackBerry acknowledged that Gary Klassen, who has developed the BBM messaging software, is no longer working for the company.
People familiar with the matter who declined for their identity to be made public said that most layoffs in Waterloo involved employees that worked in the division that had developed the BB10 handset software.
BlackBerry declined to reveal which other divisions may be impacted by the job cuts. It only said that it would still keep clients informed on future updates of the BB10 handset. Yet, it is not the first time the smartphone maker resorts to labor cost cuts.
Last fall, it removed 200 jobs within the division that developed the hardware of BB10 handsets. BB10s were first rolled out in early 2013, but although experts praised the devices, they failed to bring back customers lost to Apple’s iPhones and Android devices worldwide.
BlackBerry has been trying ever since to revive its handset business. For instance, it has even released a handset powered by the Android OS in November. Furthermore, it announced that it would release another Android-powered device by the end of the year.
The company’s top executive John Chen recently told investors that he would ponder on whether the smartphone business remains viable over the next financial year. Under the new turnaround plan, the company will focus more on business software and will seek to license faster its multitude of patents.
Last fall, Chen announced that BlackBerry has one of the largest patent portfolios in the industry – about 44,000 patents. But the hardest part is to find a proper way to monetize its patents without turning into a ‘patent troll. Chen explained that if the company monetizes its patents non-aggressively, it would take time for money to flow, and time was a commodity the turnaround plan doesn’t have.
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