BlackBerry layoffs to affect 'all facets of the company'

The recently announced 40 per cent reduction in BlackBerry's global workforce will be broad-based and cut across all departments, says the Canadian company's managing director for North America.

Too soon to know how many Waterloo, Ont., jobs are affected in 4,500 planned layoffs

The recently announced 40 per cent reduction in BlackBerry's global workforce will be broad-based and cut across all departments, says the Canadian company's managing director for North America.

It's also too early to know how many of BlackBerry's recently announced 4,500 layoffs will affect employees based at its headquarters in the Waterloo, Ont., region, Andrew MacLeod told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo on Monday.

When asked by The Morning Edition host Craig Norris when more details of the layoffs would be made available, he replied, "When you're going through a restructuring like this, it's going to be in all facets of the company at all levels of the company.

"I think it's a little early right now to start giving a forecast or a timeline, although we do fully anticipate to have this difficult process managed through in approximately nine months."

His comments are the first by a BlackBerry executive since the company announced on Friday that it is expected to post losses of nearly $1 billion when it releases its second-quarter earnings report this week. The company also announced there will be 4,500 job losses – accounting for 40 per cent of its global workforce – but did not give any details about how that would unfold or when it would occur.

"We know how difficult this news is. We know that it's a very trying time. We know that Friday's announcement is a bit of a body blow," MacLeod said.

"We are working very, very hard to take the incredibly difficult but equally necessary steps to put us in a position to start winning again and Friday's announcement, as painful as it is, was a critical step in that process."

Blackberry stock fell 16 per cent, or $1.74, to close at $9.08 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday after announcing its layoff plans and 2nd quarter loss.On Monday, the stock was trading down 6.5 per cent at mid-day at $8.49.

But news that Fairfax Financial Holdings would lead a consortium to buy the troubled smartphone maker for $4.7 billion sent the share price bouncing up again, to the $8.80 to $9 range in afternoon trading. 

The company confirmed the poor performance of the Z10 devices released earlier this year, saying it expects a “non-cash, pre-tax charge against inventory and supply commitments in the second quarter of approximately $930 million to $960 million, which is primarily attributable to BlackBerry Z10 devices.”

BlackBerry is undergoing what it calls a review of its "strategic alternatives" – including the possible sale of the company. 

Once a leader in the smartphone market, BlackBerry expects to report sales of 3.7 million phones in the quarter. That compares with Samsung's 71.3 million phones and Apple's 31.9 million phones in the same quarter.


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