Reports of BlackBerry layoffs dampen Z30 launch

Even as the media posted articles and photos of BlackBerry Ltd.’s Z30 smart phone yesterday, the impact of the already low-keyed launch of the Canadian device maker’s latest product was further diminished by reports that BlackBerry was preparing to layoff as many as 5,000 employees.

The latest round of layoffs, which is expected to affect about 40 per cent of BlackBerry’s 12,000 global workforce, was reported in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

The phone maker declined to comment directly on the number of the reported layoff, but a spokesperson for the company said: “Organizational moves will continue to occur to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive opportunities in mobile computing.”

It is a line that the company has repeated several times in the last few months since a series of reports of job cuts at BlackBerry began surfacing early this year.

Last week BlackBerry confirmed that it was letting go approximately 60 workers because it was moving “U.S.-focused sales roles” that were based in Canada to the United States “to be more closely aligned with our customers.”

Last year, BlackBerry already let go off 5,000 workers. In July this year, company laid off 250 workers from in its Waterloo, Ont. research and development facility. A month later 100 more BlackBerry employees lost their jobs.

BlackBerry took a more subdued approach to introducing its latest smart phone on Wednesday. The device was launched in an event in Malaysia which Thorsten Heins, the company’s CEO did not even attend. Malaysia is one of the few markets where the BlackBerry brand has seen growth in recent years.

Some analysts believe that the Canadian smart phone will be easily lost in the recent announcement of new devices from rival manufacturers.

The Z30 launch also continues to be outshined by early review of Apple Inc.’s new flagship iPhone 5S which was unveiled last week.

Shortly before that, Samsung Group debuted its Galaxy Note 3, which has a larger 5.7-inch touchscreen and a faster processor than BlackBerry’s Z30.

Read the whole story here.

Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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