Layoffs are never a good sign for a struggling company. You can sugar coat them when you make the announcement but at the end of the day investors and analysts alike are just going to see the word “layoffs.” They are especially bothersome announcements when those being sacked are being let go from your new-product testing facility. Now, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) has seen the release of a number of new products of late and is expected to release a new flagship phone, the A10, in time for the holiday season. One could see these layoffs as just a temporary measure and that these workers will someday return to their jobs when BlackBerry begins releasing new products. On the other hand, you can be certain that some will view it as just another step toward the imminent demise of the Waterloo, Ontario based smartphone manufacturer.
Last month the company fired U.S sales and marketing vice president Richard Piasentin, and promised additional layoffs. Now if your sales manager isn’t helping you sell he or she should get their walking papers, but when you lay off over 5,000 people over a year, it’s difficult not to start singing dirges as the problem seems to be insurmountable.
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BlackBerry R&D staff laid off
The workers laid off today were responsible for supporting the smartphone maker’s manufacturing and R&D departments. The 250 leaving their jobs were notified on Tuesday according to company spokeswoman Lisette Kwong.
“This is part of the next stage of our turnaround plan to increase efficiencies and scale our company correctly for new opportunities in mobile computing,” she wrote in an email to CBC News today. “We will be as transparent as possible as those plans evolve.”
BlackBerry begs for patience
CEO Thorstein Heins, again, asked shareholders (in the annual shareholder meeting) to be patient with BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s recovery, which he says is just getting started. However this patience he continues to ask for must be wearing thin for some.
This plea was issued prior to the release of BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY)’s “game changer”—the Z10. Sales of the Z10, however, have underwhelmed analysts with weak sales for the first all-touch product released by BlackBerry.
As I wrote earlier this week following the leak from Vietnam of the sharp-looking A10 “phablet”, the leaks can be good news when the phone looks great. Layoff announcements like this, however, erase that news quickly.