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Even with the February introduction of BlackBerry's new Z10 Smartphone, the company was unable to turn around sales and meet expectations of analysts and, more importantly, investors when it announced first-quarter sales at the end of June. In an attempt to step up its game, the Waterloo, Ontario, smartphone company is now cutting down staff.
According to a Wall Street Journal report on the annual shareholder meeting held on Tuesday, Chief Executive Thorsten Heins told shareholders the company needed more time to recover losses. Richard Piasentin, vice president of sales at BlackBerry, was fired in June and more layoffs across middle management are expected in the coming months. Last year, the company let a total of 5,000 employees go.
Partners praise the new BlackBerry devices and defend the company's commitment to delivering quality hardware for businesses, but are unsure if that will be enough.
"The Z10 is a great device," said Michael Wieser, chief mobility officer of New York-based Breakthrough Technology Group. "BlackBerry loyalists seem to really like it. It has been pretty well-received by users who have upgraded from older BlackBerry devices, but I’m not seeing as much success in regaining customers who have already jumped ship to [other smartphone brands]."
"I just started using the newer BlackBerry model," said Manika Sood, president of Newport, N.J.-based mobile solution provider Saturn Wireless. "I've switched from a BlackBerry to an iPhone to an Android device, and now I have switched back to BlackBerry. I have found it's designed more for the business world."
Although BlackBerry had established itself early in the business market as one of the most secure mobile devices available, it seems the company cannot rely on the secure business niche to protect it from competitors.