BlackBerry's planning on laying off 40 percent of its workforce — somewhere around 5,000 employees — the second big layoff in two years, which, unfortunately, matches the general downward trajectory of the beleaguered smartphone maker. "The layoffs will cut across all departments and will occur in waves, likely affecting several thousand employees," writes The Wall Street Journal's Will Connors, with information from "people familiar with the matter."
When confronted by the Journal with the rumor, BlackBerry didn't exactly deny the changes. "Organizational moves will continue to occur to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive new opportunities in mobile computing," said a BlackBerry spokesman.
The move follows smaller rounds of layoffs earlier this summer, according to Connors, in addition to a 6,000 employee purge last June. Just two years ago, the company had 17,000 employees. Now it's letting around 5,000 more of its 12,700 remaining employees go.
Of course this reflects the overall demise of BlackBerry in the smartphone market. Despite unveiling its latest operating system, BlackBerry 10, last January, the company has not made its comeback. The tech pundits, myself included, even liked a lot of aspects of the flagship phone, the Z10. But, as of July, device shipments came in way below expectations, with one analyst reporting that the device maker slashed shipments in half.
Since this was just the latest in a series of unfortunate events from the former cell phone king, the new round of layoffs don't quite come as a surprise. That still doesn't make it easy for all those people without jobs.