Update: BlackBerry updated its statement to inform that “approximately 200 employees have been impacted in Canada and Florida.”
BlackBerry has confirmed a MobileSyrup report that the company recently laid off employees at its Canadian headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario. There is a discrepancy, however, concerning the magnitude of the reduced head count.
The report, based on anecdotal tips from multiple sources, characterizes the layoffs as “significant”: 35 percent of the location’s workforce, or about 1,000 people. But in a statement released to VentureBeat to address the rumor, BlackBerry merely acknowledged that a “small number of employees” lost their jobs — which would seem to suggest far fewer than what was reported.
As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce. This means finding new ways to enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities, while driving toward sustainable profitability across all parts of our business. As a result, a small number of employees have been impacted in Waterloo and Sunrise, FL. It also means that BlackBerry is actively recruiting in those areas of our business that will drive growth. For those employees that have recently left the company, we know that they have worked hard on behalf of our company and we are grateful for their commitment and contributions.
At the same time, the statement also confirmed a previous report from the Sun-Sentinel claiming that 75 workers from BlackBerry’s Sunrise, Florida location were set to be laid off (though again, specific numbers were not shared).
MobileSyrup reports that the BlackBerry 10 operating system and Devices hardware teams were the most severely affected. If true, the information would jibe with two ongoing storylines at the struggling company: its transition to mostly software and services, and the sunsetting of BB10 in favor of Android for future handsets.
BlackBerry has undergone several rounds of layoffs in recent years, including in July 2015, when it also let go an undisclosed number of employees.
The company is hoping to revive its fortunes with the Android-powered Priv slider, as well as at least two less expensive Android devices that have yet to be announced.