Then came the iPhone.
Users newly addicted to
This year's launch of BlackBerry 10, its revamped operating system, and fancier new devices — the touchscreen Z10 and Q10 for keyboard loyalists — was supposed to rejuvenate the brand and lure customers. But the much-delayed phones have failed to turn the company around. At their peak in the fall of 2009, BlackBerry's smartphones enjoyed global market share of over 20 percent, says
Now the company says it will lay off 4,500 employees, or 40 percent of its global workforce, as it tries to slash costs by 50 percent and shift its focus back to competing mainly for the business customers most loyal to its brand. A week earlier than expected, BlackBerry surprised the market by reporting Friday that it lost nearly
Shares were halted pending the news. They plunged as low as
"This is the end of the BlackBerry as we know it," BGC analyst
Gillis said he doesn't expect to see a BlackBerry advertisement on television again.
He said it might be more interesting for a prospective buyer, though, now that that it has announced the restructuring. Gillis thinks it's possible that BlackBerry could survive as a much smaller player. At the end of the second quarter, the company had total cash and investments of about
"That's probably the feedback they've been getting. They don't do all this if you have a buyer lined up," Gillis said. "Some of the actions may have been driven by feedback by potential buyers down the road. Nobody wants to come in and buy the company and hold an all hands meeting and say, 'By the way, half of you are fired.'"
Gillis said he can't understand why BlackBerry would release the earnings late Friday, a week early. "That's abysmal," he said. "Did you really need to do it
BlackBerry had been scheduled to release earnings next week. But the
BlackBerry said it wants to slash operating costs in half by the first quarter of 2015 so cutting its global headcount to 7,000 total employees is necessary. The company let 5,000 people go last year.
"We are implementing the difficult, but necessary operational changes announced today to address our position in a maturing and more competitive industry, and to drive the company toward profitability,"
BlackBerry said last month that it would consider selling itself. The company reiterated Friday that a special committee of its board of directors continues to evaluate all options. The company said it plans to focus on offering only two high-end devices and two entry-level handsets going forward, with emphasis on the business market.
"Going forward, we plan to refocus our offering on our end-to-end solution of hardware, software and services for enterprises and the productive, professional end user," said Heins. "This puts us squarely on target with the customers that helped build BlackBerry into the leading brand today for enterprise security, manageability and reliability."
BlackBerry, formerly known as RIM, was once
Of BlackBerry's remaining employees, thousands live in
"Our thoughts are with those who have lost their jobs at BlackBerry, it is always a cause for concern for our Government," Canadian Industry Minister
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