Beleaguered BlackBerry to ax workforce by up to 40%

“Struggling BlackBerry Ltd. is sharply paring its workforce,” Will Connors reports for The Wall Street Journal. “The device maker is preparing for deep staff cuts—up to 40% of its employees—by the end of the year, people familiar with the matter said.”

“The layoffs will cut across all departments and occur in waves, likely affecting several thousand workers, the people said. BlackBerry had 12,700 employees as of this March, the last time it disclosed a total number,” Connors reports. “The cuts come as the once dominant smartphone maker looks for ways to get a handle on costs and shrink its operations to better fit a world in which competitors such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co have eaten deeply into its market share.”

Connors reports, “Smaller rounds of layoffs began earlier this summer, mostly from the sales and research-and-development divisions, and follow the loss of 5,000 jobs last year. Some employees have been told which of the new waves of cuts will affect them, one of the people said. The scale of the planned layoffs paints a stark picture of just how far the Waterloo, Ontario-based company has fallen. Two years ago, BlackBerry had more than 17,000 employees and 14% of the U.S. smartphone market, according to IDC. Now, it has less than 3% of the U.S. market.”

Read more in the full article here.

“While it may not be popular to say, there are reasons to think that Blackberry could go the way of Palm. Both were once market share leaders in the early days of the smartphone market and both had their own operating systems,” Christopher Versace writes for Forbes. “As more players entered the smartphone market, Palm’s inability to grow its product portfolio and ramp product with multiple carriers at a time put it on a path that led to its being sold to Hewlett-Packard for $1.2 billion before it was ultimately shut down. Remember too that Microsoft bought Danger, which did nothing to improve its mobile position.”

Versace writes, “The sad news is this smartphone bloodbath is only going to get worse. As history has shown, most markets consolidate around three major players that have the bulk of the market share. Currently that is Samsung and Apple, with a number of companies trying to land that third spot.”

MacDailyNews Take: If there is a third spot, it is not going to be occupied by BlackBerry, née Research in Stagnation.

Time’s quickly running out on Amateur Hour.

Related articles:
Beleaguered BlackBerry: Sometimes the best a company can hope for is death – August 20, 2013
iPhone roadkill: Beleaguered BlackBerry is dead company walking – August 16, 2013
Why potential buyers won’t line up for beleaguered BlackBerry – August 12, 2013
Beleaguered BlackBerry explores sale of company– August 12, 2013
Beleaguered BlackBerry shares drop 7% as Z10′s U.S. launch gets subdued reception – March 22, 2013
Gartner: Beleaguered BlackBerry in an ‘extremely difficult’ spot – March 19, 2013
Why the Z10 won’t save beleaguered Blackberry – March 11, 2013


  1. Sorry, that was a bad cut-and-paste. That’s address for the massage power I’m headed to now. Love the following post, not as much as I can I love my Asian massage.

    Today when Barack Obama was told that Blackberry was going to ax 40% of their employees, he replied: What questions are they going to ax them?

  2. One of Jack Welch’s famous relevant sayings from GE applied to RIM before January 2007: “Change before you have to.”

    Then RIM made a really bad mistake of not starting change on the day Steve Jobs held up the first iPhone.

    But without the vision and drive of a focused hands on CEO who knows user experience issues, I now doubt RIM could have managed to compete even if they started a modern phone in 2007. They were too blinded by email & keyboards.

  3. remember the Hedge Fund dude yesterday Jack – know – nothing – Ubben that said that Microsoft will win because they “had a lock on enterprise” like “plumbing”?

    how did the ‘lock on enterprise’ work out for RIM?

    Five years ago I was debating with dudes in Zdnet etc, I said Apple iPhone will win and the haters said “No way, RIM had a LOCK ON ENTERPRISE, all the companies had INVESTED in RIM SERVER architecture and all their protocols around security, emails etc are tied to RIM, all their staff training is tied to Rim. Enterprise has too much invested in RIM (no matter how shitty their stuff is ) to abandon it. I was called dreaming Fanboy etc… ”

    what say you now Ubben?
    seriously companies that keep deluding themselves that they ‘have a lock, they have a lock’ sit on their assess and die. those who like Apple keep innovating and re inventing itself (Apple cannibalized it’s own iPod business with iPhone etc) survive.

  4. Someone needs to write a book of business quotes. Can call it “Quotes of the Galactically Stupid and the men that haunted them!”

    Galactically Stupid:

    Steve Ballmer – “Would I trade 96% of the market for 4% of the market? (Laughter.) I want to have products that appeal to everybody. Now we’ll get a chance to go through this again in phones and music players. There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.”

    Ed Colligan – “We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.”

    The Men that Haunt Them:

    Steve Jobs – “In your life you only get to do so many things and right now we’ve chosen to do this, so let’s make it great.”

    Jony Ive – “Packaging can be theater, it can create a story.”

    Terry Oyama, part of the early Macintosh design team – “To be honest, we didn’t know what it meant for a computer to be ‘friendly’ until Steve told us.”

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