BlackBerry set to cut 40% of workers, claim sources

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BlackBerry smartphone maker on course for wide-scale job cuts, according to reports.

Beleaguered smartphone maker BlackBerry is reportedly set to axe up to 40 per cent of its workforce by the end of 2013, sources claim.

The job cuts will affect all of Canadian firm’s business departments, the Wall Street Journal reports, with several thousand workers expected to be laid off.

We have to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive new opportunities in mobile computing.

BlackBerry told the publication it would not comment on claims that up to 40 per cent of its employees could be facing the chop, but said “organisational moves” will continue at the firm.

“We have to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive new opportunities in mobile computing,” a company spokesperson said.

The company is understood to have started cutting staff from its sales and R&D departments earlier in the year, as part of the vendor’s ongoing fight to reduce costs in light of its dwindling market share.

Over the last two years, the company’s headcount has fallen from 17,000, according to IDC figures, to around 12,700, as of March 2013.  

It has undoubtedly been a tough couple of years for BlackBerry, as it has seen its market share gradually eroded by the likes of Apple and Samsung, and suffered a marked downturn in its subscriber numbers.

Last month, reports emerged suggesting the company might be up for sale, with market watchers suggesting parts of it – such as its patent portfolio – could be sold off separately.

Against this backdrop, the firm has released a slew of new smartphones this year, powered by the BB 10 operating system. These have included the Z10, Q10 and Q5, which have been critically acclaimed, but business and consumer uptake has been slow.

As reported by IT Pro yesterday, the company is pushing ahead with its smartphone release schedule, having announced details of its largest device to date in the form of the 5in BlackBerry Z30.

It has also confirmed release date details for the arrival of its popular BBM messaging service on Android and Apple devices, with the application set to drop this weekend.