BlackBerry cutting 250 staff at its product testing facility in Waterloo

TORONTO – BlackBerry (TSX:BB) has given layoff notices to 250 workers at its product testing facility in Waterloo, Ont., where the global smartphone company is based.

The employees, who supported the company’s manufacturing, research and development efforts, were notified on Tuesday.

“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 in an email.

The company announced plans last year to cut about 5,000 employees jobs as part of its restructuring efforts.

BlackBerry is trying to recover a stronger position in the highly competitive smartphone market with its new BlackBerry 10 line of phones and operating system.

At the company’s annual general meeting earlier this month, CEO Thorsten Heins told shareholders that BlackBerry is in the midst of a “complex transition” that included a three-stage plan to become profitable again.

BlackBerry shares fell below $10 earlier this month for the first time since last year.

The company has been under pressure since it posted quarterly results last month that fell short of analysts’ largely optimistic expectations.

Since that report, analysts have become increasingly focused on whether BlackBerry will be able to successfully re-establish itself as a major player in the smartphone industry, which itself is facing headwinds.

Heins has hinted at products that could hit stores before the end of this year, but the company hasn’t announced anything specific.

It’s widely expected that the company will unveil a smaller-sized tablet device to fill the void left by its decision to no longer update the PlayBook.

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