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Friday, September 20, 2013
Blackberry to Cut 4,500 Jobs

BlackBerry on Friday said that it expects to report a huge second-quarter operating loss next week and that it plans to cut 4,500 jobs, more than a third of its workforce.

The struggling company said it anticipated a loss of as much as $995m when it reports its second-quarter earnings next week. BlackBerry added it expects to report revenue for the second quarter of about $1.6 billion, of which roughly 50 percent is expected to be revenue from its services unit.

As part of the company's focus on enhancing its financial results, and in response to the increasing competition in the smartphone market, BlackBerry also announced plans to transition its future smartphone portfolio from six devices to four. The portfolio will focus on enterprise and prosumer-centric targeted devices, including 2 high-end devices and 2 entry-level devices in all-touch and QWERTY models. With the launch of the BlackBerry Z30 -- the next generation high-tier smartphone built on the BlackBerry 10 platform -- this week, the Company will re-tier the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone to make it available to a broader, entry-level audience.

At the same time, a Special Committee of the company's Board of Directors continues to evaluate all strategic alternatives for Blackberry, which may include a possible sale of the company. Both The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal cited sources saying that BlackBerry co-founder and former co-chief executive officer Mike Lazaridis has approached private equity firms about making a bid for the company. The New York Times specifically states that he's reached out to the Blackstone Group and the Carlyle Group about putting together an offer.

Thorsten Heins, President and Chief Executive Officer of BlackBerry said, "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. Going forward, we plan to refocus our offering on our end-to-end solution of hardware, software and services for enterprises and the productive, professional end user. This puts us squarely on target with the customers that helped build BlackBerry into the leading brand today for enterprise security, manageability and reliability."

The company has been seeking a turnover with the release of its latest mobile operating system (BlackBerry 10), but it seems that they both have failed to catch on.

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