Canadian smart phone maker BlackBerry Ltd. has laid off 250 employee at its product testing facility in Waterloo, Ont. as part of its turn around strategy.
“This is part of the next stage of our turnaround plan to increase efficenices and scale our company correctly for new opportunities in mobile computing,” according to a statement from BlackBerry. “We will be as transparent as possible as those plans evolve.”
The workers that lost their jobs worked at the new product testing facility, a department that supports BlackBerry’s manufacturing and reserach and development efforts, according to Lisette Kwong, spokesperson for the company.
(Thorsten Heins, right, at BlackBerry Live solutions centre. ITWC photo)
“This is part of our transformation, but not part of any previous reorgnaization program earlier reported,” she said.
Kwong said she could not comment on whether there would be more terminations in the near future.
Earlier this month rumours have been circulating that the company, which is fighting to regain prominence in the smart phone market, was poised to cut staff.
Last year BlackBerry had laid off about 5,000 workers as part of a restructuring plan. Earlier this month, Richard Plasentin, United States managing director of BlackBerry, was fired over the lacklustre launch of the BlackBerry 10 handsets in the U.S.
The company remains in the red reporting a lost $84 million in the last quarter despite revenues being up to $3 billion.
Although still behind arch rival Apple Inc.’s iPhone and a host of Android-powered smart phones, BlackBerry’s new line of handsets running on the new BlackBerry 10 platform appears to have placed the company back in the spotlight.
Public reception to the new BlackBerry Z10 and Q10 handsets has been encouraging and the company has promised to release other new products.
The company sold 6.8 million smart phones in the last quarter, up by 6 million from the previous quarter.
“We will have to continue to take punches. CEO Thorsten Heins said in a meeting with investors in which he defended his strategy earlier this month. “This will not be an easy path…we’re doing the right things.”