BY LOUIS BALZANI
SCIENCE & TECH STAFF WRITER
Telecommunication company BlackBerry has suffered a slow and prolonged decline over the past few years, and the Canadian company has done little to halt its downward spiral.
A recent earnings guidance release showed that sales of the company’s newest BlackBerry 10 devices, namely the Z10, Q10 and Q5, were disappointing at best. This led to a shocking quarterly loss of just under $1 billion.
In response to this troubling loss BlackBerry announced plans to lay off 4,500 employees, which amounts to approximately 40 percent of its global workforce.
The company also expressed its desire to bow out of the consumer smartphone market, a battleground where Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android continue to battle as Microsoft’s Windows Phone fights for momentum. Blackberry plans on refocusing its products and services on the business and enterprise markets, areas where it has traditionally seen the most success.
It also recently announced its new Z30 handset, which it hopes to position as its flagship device and aim squarely toward business professionals. The consequences of these decisions are already apparent as T-Mobile announced yesterday that they will no longer carry BlackBerry handsets in stores and instead sell the phones online in direct-to-consumer offerings.
As BlackBerry scrambles to reinvent itself and stay alive in today’s hypercompetitive smartphone industry, it faces several unique challenges. Its new smartphone operating system, BlackBerry 10, has failed to gain significant momentum among consumers, business professionals and app developers.
It was forced to delay the launch of its anticipated BlackBerry Messenger apps for iOS and Android despite coming within a day or two of their launches.
The company gained a little traction by announcing a $4.7 billion plan to go private with the help of Fairfax Financial, but many experts have questioned the plausibility of whether the deal will go through.
Many journalists and bloggers have called BlackBerry’s death all but inevitable, and though this may not necessarily be true, it is certainly true that the company has quite an uphill battle ahead of it.
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