BlackBerry Job Cuts: Smartphone Maker To Lay Off 4,500

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BLACKBERRY CEO
FILE - In this May 1, 2012 file photo, Thorsten Heins, president and CEO of Research In Motion, delivers the keynote speech during the BlackBerry World conference in Orlando, Fla. These are troubling times for Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, the town of 100,000 that was transformed by Research In Motion's BlackBerry into Canada's Silicon Valley. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay, File) | AP

BlackBerry announced poor results on Friday and said that it would be laying off 4,500 employees.

The company's stock closed down 16 per cent, or $1.74, to $9.08 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

BlackBerry says job cuts will help it halve its operating costs by June 1, 2014.

It expects to post a loss of US$950 million to $995 million when it reports its second-quarter earnings next Friday.

There were reports earlier this week that the struggling cellphone company was ready to slash 40 per cent of its workforce by the end of the year. The announced layoffs amount to roughly that percentage of BlackBerry's staff.

"We are implementing the difficult, but necessary operational changes announced today to address our position in a maturing and more competitive industry, and to drive the company toward profitability," CEO Thorsten Heins said in a press release.

Reuters reporter David Ljunggren tweeted Friday afternoon saying Industry Minister James Moore was concerned by news of the job losses.

Several analysts weighed in on the news, with many saying the company is facing impending doom.

“The company has sailed off a cliff. What do you expect when you announce you’re up for sale. Who wants to commit to a platform that could possibly be shut down?" Colin Gillis of BGC Partners told Reuters

“They have to do something. To me the fact that they are exploring a sale is the only real alternative at this point. I think in the meantime, the fact that they are cutting operating expenditures deep is the best they can do to try and stabilize this ship," said Amitabh Passi, an anaylst with UBS.

The company recently announced a "strategic review" that would mean selling the company off, in whole or in parts.

BlackBerry also announced that the company was releasing a BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) client for iOS and Android this weekend.

BBM was one of the unique selling points of the once-dominant smartphone.

BlackBerry, formerly known as Research In Motion, was one of the first smartphone makers and was a technology darling for most of the early 2000s. The Waterloo, Ont. company has since been leapfrogged in popularity and sales by companies such as Apple, Samsung and Google in the competitive smartphone marketplace.

With files from The Canadian Press

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