In an effort to control spending as losses mount, Blackberry is planning to let go as many as 5000 employees by the end of the year, according to The Wall Street Journal. BlackBerry had 12 700 employees as of March, following a 5000-person round of layoffs in 2012 and smaller layoffs to begin this year.
BlackBerry's decline has been stark. The company, which boasted a 19.5-percent global smartphone market share in 2008, saw it dip below 9 percent by the end of 2011. It now has around 2.4 percent worldwide. Those losses are reflected in its financials. The handset maker lost US $84 million in the second quarter of this year. The company will release third quarter earnings next week.
With its fortunes spiraling downward, BlackBerry's foray into the tablet market with the PlayBook seems to be over. And though its most recent OS, BlackBerry 10, runs on the Z10 and Q10 handsets, the company only sold 2.7 million BlackBerry 10 devices in the second quarter. (For comparison, Apple's iPhone, which currently has a 14 percent worldwide market share, sold 31.2 million units over the same time period.)
The Wall Street Journal's article about layoffs at the company went live only hours after BlackBerry announced an updated handset, the Z30, running its BlackBerry 10 OS. Since August, if not before, it has been clear that BlackBerry is looking to be acquired as one solution to its woes. This round of layoffs is just another indicator that the company cannot regain traction in any meaningful way without a total ideological and financial overhaul. A few years ago BlackBerry had enough devotees that if it had been able to keep pace with Apple, Android and other upcoming rivals, it could have held a loyal corner of the smartphone world. But BlackBerry put its faith in physical keyboards and essentially dated itself into obscurity. Good thing BBM is now on iOS and Android, because BlackBerry handsets may become an endangered species soon.
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