BlackBerry’s hometown, Waterloo, Ontario, will witness an increase in the presence of tech giants like Google and upstarts like Shopify. Both firms are rapidly expanding their presence in the area at a time when the smartphone maker is curtailing its presence there.
Google, Shopify expanding presence
Shopify is Canada’s newest tech darling. The firm went public this year and has been valued at $2.75 billion. Shopify plans to announce a major expansion in the region soon, says a report from Reuters, which cites sources familiar with the matter. The report says the e-commerce facilitator recently leased a space in Waterloo to expand its presence in the region from 20 to a few hundred. Shopify is likely to expand its developer and sales teams in the new space in Waterloo, says the report.
As of now, there have been no comments from Shopify about the matter. Shopify’s home base in Ottawa has around 800 employees. The company has satellite offices in Toronto, Montreal and the adjoining cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. Shopify recently announced a tie-up with Amazon as well. Shopify has been named the preferred partner by the U.S.-based e-commerce company, making it the go-to company for small vendors interested in selling their products on Amazon. The vendors will be required to integrate their inventory and payment systems with those of the e-commerce site. Shopify Plus is a premium product aimed at larger merchants.
Google is also planning to move into a new 185,000-square-foot space in Kitchener this fall. The search giant will be able to vastly expand its 300-person workforce in the region by making use of the new office, which is three times the size of its current space there.
BlackBerry curtailing non-core teams
While Shopify and Google are beefing up their workforce in Waterloo, BlackBerry is further trimming some of its non-core teams in the region. Citing unnamed sources, the report says BlackBerry has laid off 200 employees from its hardware and design teams. It seems likely that Google and Shopify are increasing their presence in the city to take advantage of BlackBerry’s job cuts, which have left hundreds of employees with valuable experience out of a job. A BlackBerry spokesperson said they’re moving resources around.
“Our intention is to reallocate resources in ways that will best enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities while driving toward sustainable profitability across all facets of our business,” a BlackBerry spokeswoman told Reuters in an email. This move from BlackBerry comes after completing all major hardware and design work for the upcoming device code-named Venice, the report says.