September 20, 2013 Last Updated 3:49 pm

BlackBerry enters the abyss, says it will cut 4,500 jobs as it expects to lose nearly $1 billion

Shares of BlackBerry were halted for a time on the Toronto Stock Exchange and Nasdaq this afternoon after BlackBerry announced that it would eliminate 4,500 jobs and that it expected to lose between $950 and $995 million in its second quarter. The company said it would cut operation costs in half.

The company is set to announce earnings next Friday, September 27.

The WSJ had reported the rumor that the company would soon announce massive layoffs on Wednesday, but the confirmation of the move jolted the company’s stock. In late afternoon trade BlackBerry stock is down more than 23 percent to $8.05. In 2011 the stock once traded at over $70 a share. (Update: shares recovered a bit to close at $8.73, they opened the day at $10.50.)

“We are implementing the difficult, but necessary operational changes announced today to address our position in a maturing and more competitive industry, and to drive the company toward profitability,” Thorsten Heins, president and chief executive officer of BlackBerry, said this afternoon.

“Going forward, we plan to refocus our offering on our end-to-end solution of hardware, software and services for enterprises and the productive, professional end user. This puts us squarely on target with the customers that helped build BlackBerry into the leading brand today for enterprise security, manageability and reliability.”

BlackBerry recently announced the launch of the Blackberry Z30, but observers were skeptical that the new device could turn around the company’s fortunes. A new version of the operating system was announced on Wednesday – yes, the same day as Apple released iOS 7.

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