BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) is planning to lay off up to 40 percent of its workforce by the year’s end, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The staff cuts will affect all divisions of the handset manufacturer formerly known as RIM.
The layoffs are a cost-cutting measure for the company, as BlackBerry has thus far failed to regain market share lost to competitors like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics (KRX:005930). BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins began the cost-cutting drive in 2012, in an attempt to cut $1 billion from BlackBerry’s budget.
BlackBerry last reported 12,700 employees in March, down from 17,000 in 2011. Meanwhile, BlackBerry’s market share in the U.S. has dipped from 14 percent to less than 3 percent. The all-touchscreen BlackBerry Z10 and keyboard-toting BlackBerry Q10 have not caught on in the U.S., although the company has a higher market share in Canada and nations across Africa.
The downsizing report comes the day that BlackBerry announced the Z30, a larger and more high-end “phablet” style smartphone, in Malaysia. BlackBerry has also piqued international interest in cross-platform versions of the company’s formerly exclusive BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). BlackBerry announced in May that it would release a version of BBM for Android and iPhone at an undisclosed date “this summer.”
BlackBerry formed a board committee to explore a sale of the company earlier this year, and executives are reportedly seeking to complete the deal by November.