Same Garbage, Renamed Pile: Blackberry Considers Additional Layoffs

by Jeff Wiener on July 11, 2013

While Research in Motion officially changed its name to Blackberry at its shareholders meeting earlier this week, it looks like the new moniker hasn’t allowed the Waterloo Company to dodge the same old strife. With the company posting some remarkable losses over the past few months, the sad truth is that it was just a matter of time before the company’s continuing restructuring plans once again hit the employees were it hurts.

To that end, even as company CEO Thorsten Heins virtually begged company investors for their patience and trust earlier this week, employees may have little to depend on as according to the Wall Street Journal, the company is considering another round of deep cuts, this time to its middle management across its sales and support divisions.

With Richard Piasentin, Blackberry’s BlackBerry’s vice president of sales in the U.S., already given a pink slip and shown the door, this new round of layoffs would come on top of the 5,000 cuts the company planned during the last fiscal year: Same garbage, different renamed pile.

There’s no question that following the initial hype surrounding Blackberry’s new Z10 and Q10 smartphones there was once again some optimism around the Waterloo company, as its seemed that consumers may be willing to give the once stalwart mobile giant another chance. But Blackberry’s strength has never been attracting the consumer segment, it’s been delivering a secure mobile product to the enterprise market, and with the BYOD movement in full swing it has looked to me for several years now that Blackberry’s toehold in the market had been lost and the company would soon be in a free fall.

While I cringe at being a harbinger of mobile doom, with Heins promising continued restructuring (i.e. layoffs) as the company desperately tries to right the ship, I can’t help but think that I was right.

The company’s current struggles—hard to distinguish from its previous struggles I’ll admit—have come in large part because of Blackberry’s inability to re-infiltrate the American market, and when asked about this failure, Heins placed the blame solely where it belonged…on everyone else. Blackberry’s struggles in theU.S., he said, are primarily the fault of the carriers, who only promote the flashiest and newest phones. So what were the Z10 and Q10 smartphones then, chopped liver?

The fault was also clearly placed at the feet of Piasentin, who was unable to create the necessary hype needed to place Blackberry’s new devices in the same category as Apple’s iPhone or Samsung’s Galaxy series, even thought the company’s new Blackberry 10 OS was touted as a game changer that would take the ultra competitive American market by storm.

Of course the problem for Blackberry is that many predicted the company’s new OS and the its two flagship smartphones would be its last kick at the can, the last gasp from a company who has been in a steady downward spiral for the last several years.

Since I doubt that Blackberry has anymore radical rebuilds up its sleeve, given the company’s continued failure and its desperate plans for deeper layoffs, the unfortunate reality is that those who will likely see there tenure at Blackberry come to an end here in short order may actually be the lucky ones, the ones able to get off the sinking ship before it pulls everyone to the bottom.

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