Is BlackBerry Planning More Layoffs?

BlackBerry investors weren’t the only ones disappointed Friday when the company announced weaker than expected fiscal first quarter results. During the period that ended June 1, the mobile-device maker posted a loss — $84 million on revenues of $3.1 billion. Meanwhile, employees can’t be happy about the company’s plans to “continue to implement the cost savings” it started last year.

BlackBerry Z10In 2012, BlackBerry announced plans to cut approximately 5,000 workers from its payroll by the end of its fiscal year as part of an effort to trim $1 billion in costs. But when that year closed on March 2, the company had only cut 3,800 full-time positions, leaving it with 12,700 workers, according to financial filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Here’s where and how deep the cuts were felt:

  • Product Development: 9.8 percent cut, 5,500 workers remain
  • Sales/Marketing: 26.7 percent cut, 1,100 remain
  • Customer Care/Tech Support: 38.5 percent cut, 800 remain
  • Manufacturing/Supply Chain: 28.2 percent cut, 1,400 remain
  • Administration: 31 percent cut, 3,900 remain.

While “cost savings” often means letting people go in Corporate America, spokeswoman Lisette Kwong told Dice News she doesn’t know if BlackBerry plans more layoffs, adding, “Today’s announcement reiterates that the company is intensely focused on maintaining a strong balance sheet and delivering efficiency across the organization.”

Still, employees who thought they might have a breather may find themselves back on edge as BlackBerry decides how those cost savings will materialize.

Safe Areas – For Now

Despite the savings plans, some employees may be relatively safe. During this fiscal year, the company plans to invest in:

  • BlackBerry 10 smartphone launches
  • Roll out of BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10
  • Establish BlackBerry 10 platform in the marketplace
  • Evolve BlackBerry Messenger into a cross-platform mobile social messaging app

Professionals involved in those areas will undoubtedly have plenty to do.

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