Blackberry to Layoff 4,500 Amid Massive Losses

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Blackberry announced Friday afternoon that it will cut 4,500 jobs in the face of nearly $1 billion in expected losses, the latest indicator of the smartphone company’s decline amid competition from market leaders like Samsung and Apple.

The company stock plunged more than 20 percent in intraday trading before ticking up.

In a Friday statement ahead of a conference call with investors next week, Blackberry said sales in the second quarter were about $1.6 billion, or slightly more than half the average estimate from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Blackberry employed 12,700 people as of March. That number previously dropped from 17,000 employees two years ago when its iconic phones represented 14% of the smartphone market, according to the Wall Street Journal, which reported Wednesday about potential layoffs. Blackberry now has less than 3% of the U.S. market, despite releasing two new phones this year. The company introduced a third new phone, the Z30, earlier this week.

Blackberry, which has been losing money and subscribers, announced last month that it had formed a committee to explore strategic alternatives, which may include selling the company.