Once the king of the smartphone market, BlackBerry will be laying off up to 40 percent of its workforce, or about 5,000 workers, by year's end, reports The Wall Street Journal. The cuts will come from all divisions of the Waterloo, Ontario-based company, which at last count in March had 12,000 workers. The cuts will be made in waves, with workers from the sales and research-and-development divisions having already received pink slips over the summer.
The layoffs are of course a response to how far BlackBerry has fallen in the smartphone market. In just the past two years, BlackBerry's share of the smartphone market has dropped from 14 percent to 3 percent, according to research firm IDC. The report said that the company may even be put up for sale.
BlackBerry has tried to restore its standing by releasing two new phone models this year. Both, however, have failed to gain traction. In a statement to the business daily, a BlackBerry spokesman said: "Organizational moves will continue to occur to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive new opportunities in mobile computing."
The layoffs at BlackBerry are the latest example of what has become an old story -- demanding and rapidly shifting tastes in the tech sector can result in workers being left in the dust. As one of countless examples, LivingSocial was forced to layoff 400 workers in 2012 after the social commerce website failed to see its local events and merchant services campaigns thrive. But tech firms including Cisco have been pursuing massive layoffs even during flush times. The San Jose-based tech firm has announced that it will let go of 4,000 of its approximately 65,000 workers in the first quarter of 2014. The move comes even though revenue rose 6 percent year-on-year, as of an August report.
Big layoffs, of course, have affected nearly all industries during the financial crisis. And as AOL Jobs reported to mark the five-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, 4 of the 10 employers that have cut the most jobs since 2008 were in the financial sector.
In the case of BlackBerry, massive layoffs are by now old hat. Its problems led company CEO Thorsten Heins to lay off 5,000 workers last year after the company posted a $646 million loss.