BlackBerry Q10

Blackberry is laying off 250 employees, or around 2% of its workforce, at its new product testing facility, the company said this morning.

"These employees were part of the New Product Testing Facility, a department that supports BlackBerry's manufacturing and R&D efforts," BlackBerry said. The employees, all working in Waterloo, Canada, were informed of their termination on July 23, the company said.

"This is part of the next stage of our turnaround plan to increase efficiencies and scale our company correctly for new opportunities in mobile computing. We will be as transparent as possible as those plans evolve," the company said.

Although BlackBerry reported a 9% year-on-year rise in revenue for its most recent fiscal quarter, which ended June 1, the company is struggling to maintain profitability, reporting an $84 million loss for the period. The company disappointed analysts with sales figures for its Z10 and Q10 smartphones running the new BlackBerry 10 OS. It sold 6.8 million smartphones in that fiscal quarter, almost a million fewer than analysts had expected. In the course of year it saw its smartphone market share more than halved, from 6.4% in the first calendar quarter of 2012 to 2.9% a year later.

The latest staff cuts are minor compared to those BlackBerry has made in recent years. In 2011 it laid of 2,000 staff, or a little more than 10% of its workforce at the time, leaving it with 17,000 staff.

Then in June 2012 it said it would lay off approximately 5,000 employees by March this year. The layoffs were part of the company's Cost Optimization and Resource Efficiency programme that focused on delivering annual operational savings of at least $1 billion. By March it had slimmed down to around 12,700 employees.