If there is one phone company (apart from Nokia of course) which has been hugely affected by the rise of Android and iOS phones, it is BlackBerry. Once the favorite and status symbol of many, BlackBerry has struggled heavily to barely survive amidst the avalanche of Android phones.
Recently the company began its transition from its proprietary BlackBerry 10 OS to Android as it launched its first Android phone called Priv.
And now the company has laid off 200 employees from its headquarters at Waterloo, Ontario and from an office at Florida.
In an official statement, the company said,
As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce. This means finding new ways to enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities while driving toward sustainable profitability across all parts of our business. As a result, approximately 200 employees have been impacted in Canada and Florida.
Previously, there were reports by technology news site MobileSyrup that the latest job cuts at BlackBerry headquarters had affected nearly 1000 employees out of which most were from the company’s BlackBerry 10 and devices division.
Although the number of layoffs may not be that big, but clearly indicates the new direction of the company. This was also indicated by its discussions in the CES 21016 which revolved around shifting to new opportunities such as self-driving cars, global carrier support for PRIV, and consumer healthcare apps.
CEO John Chen had said in the CES 2016 that the company was planning to launch one or two new android phones this year as well.
Chen has made it quite clear that the new focus of BlackBerry is to become a company largely based on selling software and services to businesses and governments.
The company would continue to produce phones only as long as the business, at least, reaches the break-even point. And transitioning to Android OS may perhaps be the last effort of the company to revive its phone business.
However, Chen has maintained that the company won’t abandon the loyal customers of BlackBerry and continue to support BlackBerry 10 through regular updates and security improvements.