BlackBerry confirms it’s laying off 200 workers

BlackBerry confirms it’s laying off 200 workers

By Dieter Bohn on February 5, 2016 01:44 pm Email @backlon
http://www.theverge.com/2016/2/5/10923794/blackberry-confirms-more-layoffs-but-how-many-is-unclear

Update: BlackBerry has apparently thought better of its original strategy to try to pass off the layoffs as a “small number” and amended its original statement. The company now tells us that “approximately 200 employees have been impacted in Canada and Florida.” Our original story follows.

BlackBerry’s woes continue. The company has confirmed to The Verge that it is laying off “a small number” of employees in its Waterloo headquarters and in Sunrise, Florida. However, though BlackBerry insists this is a “small number” and also points out that it’s still actively recruiting, the report from MobileSyrup that kicked off our question to the company tells a different story.

MobileSyrup says that it has heard from multiple sources that the number of people being laid off in Waterloo is closer to 1,000, and that the BlackBerry 10 team and the Devices team were both hit especially hard. BlackBerry’s statement seems to belie that report, but nevertheless does confirm more layoffs happened recently. Whatever the actual total number might be, we do know that the Florida office is losing about 75 people. Pressed for more specifics on how many workers were “impacted” in Waterloo, BlackBerry directed us back to its statement. Here’s the whole thing:

As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce. This means finding new ways to enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities, while driving toward sustainable profitability across all parts of our business. As a result, a small number of employees have been impacted in Waterloo and Sunrise, FL. It also means that BlackBerry is actively recruiting in those areas of our business that will drive growth. For those employees that have recently left the company, we know that they have worked hard on behalf of our company and we are grateful for their commitment and contributions.

BlackBerry recently had to push back against a report that it was de-emphasizing the BlackBerry 10 operating system in its future, going so far as to put up this blog post “reiterating” its commitment to the OS. MobileSyrup also reports that the original creator of the BBM messaging system recently left the company.

The big question now is whether the only bright spot in BlackBerry’s consumer sales story is bright enough. The Priv, despite middling reviews at its release, is coming to all of the major US carriers. Perhaps Android is one of the “growth opportunities” BlackBerry response is pointing to.

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