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BlackBerry lays off 200 employees in Canada and Florida

blackberry physical keyboard john chen version 1475159978 priv update ces 2016
Image used with permission by copyright holder
BlackBerry recently laid off about 200 of its employees in Canada and Florida as part of its efforts to drive “efficiencies” across its workforce. The company clarified the figure after reports initially pegged the layoffs at around 1,000 employees.

The company laid off 75 manufacturing workers at its Sunrise, Florida, office between February 4 and February 26, according to a notice filed with the State of Florida. The remaining layoffs occurred at BlackBerry’s headquarters in Waterloo, Canada.

“As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce,” reads a related company statement. “As a result, approximately 200 employees have been impacted in Canada and Florida.”

Initial reports from MobileSyrup said that BlackBerry laid off about 1,000 employees.

Gary Klassen, creator of BlackBerry Messenger, has also left the company, though it’s unclear whether he was part of this round of downsizing. Klassen was with the company for nearly 16 years.

While this announcement clarifies the status of the firm’s workforce, BlackBerry has left the status of its own BlackBerry 10 operating system in the air. Although CEO John Chen recently said the company would not abandon the OS, there’s no clear answer about BlackBerry’s plans for continuing to manufacture BB10 devices. A shift toward Android is certain, however, as Chen confirmed that a follow-up to the Android-based Priv is in the works.

“The Priv device is essentially our transition to Android ecosystem,” said Damian Tay, senior director, APAC product management at BlackBerry, late last month. “As we secure Android, over a period of time, we would not have two platforms, and may have only Android as a platform [for smartphones].”

Tay said two new Android phones are expected this year, but he said nothing about a new BB10 smartphone.

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Jason Hahn
Jason Hahn is a part-time freelance writer based in New Jersey. He earned his master's degree in journalism at Northwestern…
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