BlackBerry is prepping to layoff up to 40 percent of its staff as it takes significant cost-cutting measures. The layoffs, according to The Wall Street Journal, will impact all BlackBerry departments and come at a time when the ailing phone maker is facing punishing competition from Apple and Android-based smartphones.
Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry declined a request for comments on the reports of layoffs but instead issued CRN following:
"As previously stated, we are in the second phase of our transformation plan. Organizational moves will continue to occur to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive new opportunities in mobile computing," the statement said.
BlackBerry, with 12,700 employees, is currently exploring "strategic alternatives" and has reportedly put itself on the fast track to be acquired as soon as November.
The Wall Street Journal, citing people "familiar with matters," said the layoffs will come in "waves."
Longtime BlackBerry channel partners were not surprised to hear the news.
"The reality is, if there isn’t enough work, they have to lay people off. They're trimming the fat. Any smart company would trim the fat before putting themselves up for sale. To me, I think it makes perfect sense. No one can say that the company is swimming in cash," said David Felton, CEO and founder of Canaan Technology in Norwalk, Conn.
The news comes on the same day BlackBerry announced its latest flagship smartphone, the Z30, which features a 5-inch display and speedy 1.7GHz processor.
BlackBerry has been struggling for years to stay profitable and remain viable in the smartphone market. Last year, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins instituted several cost-cutting measures that included layoffs and the closure of a manufacturing plant in an attempt to save $1 billion.
Next week, BlackBerry is scheduled to release its fiscal second-quarter results. According to IDC, in May Microsoft overtook BlackBerry, claiming third place in the 2013 smartphone shipment race.
During the first quarter of 2013, Windows Phone devices accounted for 3.2 percent of all smartphones shipped around the world, while BlackBerry devices made up 2.9 percent of the market share.
CRN Editor Kristin Bent contributed to this report
PUBLISHED SEPT. 18, 2013