BlackBerry lays off 250 R&D, product testing employees

By on July 25, 2013, 11:00 AM
blackberry, smartphone, layoffs, bb10, thorsten heins, job cuts, restructuring, blackberry a10

Last year wasn’t exactly kind to Canadian handset maker BlackBerry as the company was forced to lay off thousands of workers in the wake of continued financial losses as a result of failing to keep pace in the innovative, fast-paced smartphone race.

Things were looking up as 2013 rolled around. BB10 finally launched and since that time, we’ve been greeted with a small handful of brand new, modern BlackBerry smartphones. Even still, there’s a long road ahead – or a “complex transition” – as CEO Thorsten Heins recently put it. It seems that more layoffs are in order to the tune of 250 employees at the company’s core research and development center and new product testing facility.

The layoffs were issued earlier this week and have since been confirmed by BlackBerry. The company said the layoffs were necessary to increase efficiencies and scale the company correctly for new opportunities in mobile computing. BlackBerry said they will be as transparent as possible as those plans evolve.

Regardless of the reason, when a major technology company – regardless of specific industry – makes significant cuts to the R&D team, it’s probably not a good thing. It’s worked thus far as BlackBerry has been able to stay afloat after axing 5,000 jobs last year but eventually, something has to give.

With any luck, BlackBerry’s upcoming devices like the A10 will help the company gain a bit more traction and prevent further layoffs. That handset is expected to land on store shelves in November.




User Comments: 7

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2 people like this | psycros psycros said:

"Regardless of the reason, when a major technology company ? regardless of specific industry ? makes significant cuts to the R&D team, it?s probably not a good thing"

When a tech-oriented company is in trouble, engineers and customer support are always the first to get the ax. Sales and managerial dead weight are treated like their indispensable. This is the beginning of the end for Blackberry. BB Inc has not only failed to understand what draws people to iPhone/Android but also what their loyal users liked most about Blackberry devices. As a result the company created a new product line that appeals to neither group. Its a tragic tale of corporate greed and incompetence that future MBAs can learn from.

Fbarnett Fbarnett said:

Kind of sad look like 10 companies will rule the world in no time. Big players can not even stay in business anymore

4 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Its a tragic tale of corporate greed and incompetence that future MBAs can learn from.

Kind of sad look like 10 companies will rule the world in no time. Big players can not even stay in business anymore

I don't think it's either. I think it's yet another tale of a company getting leapfrogged by new technology because they failed to adapt. BB will join the list of other companies that have been passed up by new tech.

- GMC, Dodge/Chrisyler and almost Ford got too big and compfortable and were passed up by Toyota/Honda making smaller efficient cars.

- Intel was the best chip maker and is being passed up by companies making smaller, slower and far more efficient mobile chips.

- MS was the OS king until mobile took off and Android and iOS devices became more popular than PCs.

- Netflix is on the verge... they were the first streaming service and are hanging on against Hulu, Amazon, iTunes, and perhaps Google/MS in the future. Their original programming may save them, and that'll make HBO obsolete if they can't keep up.

- Sony used to completely own the personal music player market with the Walkman and Discman, but they thought mp3s weren't worth their time (LOL Minidisc?!) and Apple proved them wrong with the iPod.

- Internet Explorer used to be #1, now they're falling behind and Chrome and Firefox are growing

- BB had the first 'smartphone' but Apple went from having no phone to the iPhone and today BB's are forgotten.

I don't think BB is overly greedy or incompetent... innovating fast enough to prevent something like this is terribly hard. The only tech company I can think of who was big, could have been passed up and held on was Nintendo. They were huge and when the Xbox and PS came out they responded with the Wii and stayed in the game.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

There are only 2 reasons for RIM's epic failure.. Mike Lazaridis and jim Balsillie, both of them were/are arrogant, short sighted, self involved and failed on every level as senior management. I am surprised no one within the shareholders or board has sued them. This seems to be a common theme in Canadian high tech; Softimage, Alias|Wavefront and Houdini were all the Pinnicale of CG softwear. and all have been sold, parted out and shut down.

cmbjive said:

At this point Blackberry would benefit by getting rid of its proprietary OS and adopting Android. Even doing that it's demise is inevitable.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think it's yet another tale of a company getting leapfrogged by new technology because they failed to adapt.
Nice bullet list you have there. I didn't see anything to argue about, maybe next time. lol

1 person liked this | St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

When a tech-oriented company is in trouble, engineers and customer support are always the first to get the ax. Sales and managerial dead weight are treated like their indispensable.

Yup. I'm not sure how the steady downhill slide can be fixed if you fire those that actually make the products...

Also, nice typo on the picture. "..services no longer required. Effecive"

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