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BlackBerry Prices Slashed In U.S., Stock Price Drops

Thorsten Heins, chief executive officer of BlackBerry, speaks during the launch of the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone in Sydney, Australia, on Monday, March 18, 2013. BlackBerry, the Canadian smartphone maker that rolled out a new lineup in January, said on March 13 one of its 'established partners' is buying 1 million BlackBerry 10s, the biggest order in the company's history. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Thorsten Heins, chief executive officer of BlackBerry, speaks during the launch of the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone in Sydney, Australia, on Monday, March 18, 2013. BlackBerry, the Canadian smartphone maker that rolled out a new lineup in January, said on March 13 one of its 'established partners' is buying 1 million BlackBerry 10s, the biggest order in the company's history. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Shares were down one per cent Friday afternoon after the Wall Street Journal reported that Best Buy slashed prices on the Z10 from $199 U.S. to $49 U.S., with a two-year AT&T contract.

Verizon is now reportedly offering the phone for $99 on a two-year contract.

The Z10 went on sale in the U.S. in March. The discounts are yet another sign that sales are failing to live up to expectations.

BlackBerry announced late last month that it lost $84 million in the first quarter of the year. Many analysts saw it as telling that the company did not break out sales of the Z10 in its earnings report.

(CEO Thorsten Heins eventually told the press the company sold 2.7 million BB10 devices in the first quarter. By comparison, Apple shipped 37.4 million iPhones in the same period.)

At the company’s annual meeting this week, Heins pleaded with shareholders for patience as the company works to bounce back from years of shrinking market share.

According to "people familiar with the matter" who spoke to the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, the Waterloo, Ont.-based company is planning another round of layoffs, on top of the 5,000 people it let go last year.

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