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BlackBerry just “gutted” its salesforce, this source says

According to a source close to the matter, BlackBerry today laid off more than half of its salesforce. The source, based in Waterloo, says consumers sales is basically “gone” and “enterprise is gutted”.

According to a source close to the matter, BlackBerry today laid off more than half its salesforce.

The source, based in Waterloo, says consumer sales is basically “gone” and “enterprise is gutted”.

” I had twenty guys (from BlackBerry) on BBM from sales, and they have all posted alternate emails on their status,” says the source.

The source says the cuts began today in Waterloo and are rumoured to hit the U.K. within a few days…

The rumoured layoffs come after a report from the U.K.’s Sunday Times said Fairfax Financial boss Prem Watsa was preparing to take over the company.



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  1. Either part of Phase 2 of the plan or the start of Phase 3. Blackberry doing exactly what they said they would do. JMHO

  2. I won’t sleep well if I was short. Glad I covered my shorts under $10 and bought a truck load of commons and cheap calls when BlackBerry was under $9. Shorts in a world of hurt.

  3. If they really did gut the sales force, this is not prep for going private. It’s prep for getting out of smartphones altogether. So I’m very curious to what degree they cut, and why. You simply can’t run a business like this without a sales force.

  4. I agree with you that it is prep for getting out of smartphones, however the software and services part of BlackBerry will most likely be preserved through a LBO. Therefore, a sale of the hardware business (coupled with a possible license of BB10) and a leveraged buyout for the software and services (QNX, BB10, BBM, BES, etc). In my opinion of course.

  5. Any single event is going to be reported, analysed, expanded, guessed …
    Has the “source” been fired too ?
    The least we can say is that the salesforces have not been performing well … should we have to necessarily mix it with current “strategic opportunities” ?

    That’s the magic of “journalism” …

    Bellow is the missing quote, you’ll find in the WSJ’s original article. Please note the “a small number of employees” that turns out to : “half of the salesforce”. The least a copycat journalist can do is to balance his gloom with some official statements.
    Welcome to the help-me-I’m-short news …

    “I can confirm a small number of employees were laid off today,” a company spokesman said, without providing additional details.


  6. Actually, at its core, it’s the same sales team from 4 years ago when BB was setting record after record of growth and profits. The sales force did not suddenly become incompetent, the product/company failed to keep up with competition and the changing marketplace. Same is true for Ericsson (in the late 90s), Motorola, Nokia, HTC and a boatload of lesser players.

  7. On the contrary, the last four years have seen a steep decline in Blackberry numbers sold and revenue and earnings generated. The sales team hasn’t been doing its job for the last four years. Evidently.

  8. There are only three Canadians and one Nigerian who will notice or care that Blackberry is going away. The company are redundant.

  9. My guess is that BlackBerry has a buyer in mind, and they are currently solving operational challenges to integrating a new team. I am assuming, of course, that the buyer wants to avoid duplication of services and has a team of dedicated BDs and account managers ready to take-over existing contracts.

  10. Perhaps sales hasn’t been doing a stellar job, but it is tough to sell a horse and cart when your competitors are offering a space ship for the same price.

  11. Would like also to make some memory work here. Remember Heins speech in last E.R about unproductive “falling heads”. While we have no details that’s certainly something me can keep in mind (headcount seems to be 100 in Textas with underperforming location, says the *rumor*).

  12. liked this article. Blackberry is in crisis because of its management. At every step the managers who are for long should be changed or should be retrenched. They dont know the difference between senior and junior. The managers who are there for very long time are just like a frog in a small pond.

  13. When times are good, it’s due to the “exceptional management”, when times are bad, it’s the sales peoples fault. Pfft. It’s taken a little longer than I predicted but Rim/Blackberry is done.

  14. @KidWUnder – that is probably one of the best quotes in respect of sales that I have heard in a long time!!! – raised a smile in our office – may i requote on twitter (acknowledging you also?)

  15. If true, sounds similar to the beginnings of Palm’s demise. You only whack your sales force if you aren’t going to have anything to sell soon…

  16. Was just talking to a friend of mine who I talked into buying the Q10 and like me, they LOVE the phone. Blackberry’s marketing let them down. There is so much negativity around the Bb name that no sales forced could have saved them. Twice the functionality as an iPhone (including a USB and expandable memory) at half the cost.

  17. I’m willing to bet that not a single person on this thread who is trashing Blackberry has never even touched one of their new Q10 or Z10 phones…because its socially unacceptable. Every time I debate with iPhone people on FEATURES, it inevitably ends with “but its a BLACKBERRY! That’s so not cool”.

  18. Products that fail to evolve eventually fail. What’s the shocker? Besides, if consumer sales were “gone” and enterprise is “gutted” then what would the sales people be doing all day anyway? The ones left around at this point to even be laid off are probably just too incompetent at sales to find their way out earlier.

  19. Actually, I would characterize it just the opposite, BB was the space ship, everybody else was the horse and buggy…. that’s all consumers really wanted was a horse and buggy, all the space-age tech that BB had in their phone wasn’t needed by consumers, they couldn’t have cared less….. having a flashlight app was more important to them…

  20. The new phone is phenomenal, for sure… the problem is, in the North American market, you’re on a cycle… if it’s not time for an upgrade, you’re not going to run out and buy the new phone. (Apple seems to be the exception because of loyalty across product lines, ipad, iphone, ipod etc.. but we all know Apple is an exceptional marketing company). You’re going to wait til you can upgrade, then perhaps consider it. But if you’re more comfortable with a product you have largely enjoyed for years, you are not likely to change brands.

  21. Nice try.. but while encryption and keyboards were (somewhat) important to some business customers, consumers started to enjoy enabled web apps, a laptop-like browsing speed and efficiency, an infinitely better GPS experience and yes, a lot of “fun” apps that acted as the cherry on top. I went from the Curve, to the Bold, to the iphone. When I got my iphone it felt like my Bold was 10-15 years behind. Samsung’s product also blew BB out of the water. A typical RIM response would be “It’s not us who failed to listen to consumers and stop innovating, it is the people’s fault for not appreciating us enough.”

  22. this is minor news compared to when BB gutted around 1500 of their work force a couple of years ago. At the time, I was VERY close to a getting a job at BB in Waterloo. But all that was dropped due to that fiasco and I lost out on that position. That same scenario has happened at other companies due to ‘reorganization’. Unfortunate, but nothing i can do about it but go on to the next company. In any case, roll with the times as the job market is in flux.

  23. Blackberry is the walking dead. Anyone still there in even partial denial on that won’t win any sympathy from me when they get their pink slip. The only value out of any Blackberry news at this point is a post-mortem analysis (as they fade) and case study of how not to blow it in business. Lesson #1 co-CEO’s that exemplified hubris and treat employees like “workers” instead of “innovators”. The sad part is those CEO’s made out while most employees that were dedicated yet frustrated in the process didn’t.

    Maybe a new concept would be to withhold part of CEO’s bonuses until 2 years after we see the aftermath of what they did. Anyone can shave operations to make more profits. Look at HP, Mark Hurd did a wonderful job of that and there is nowhere to go once you cut costs so low and shut down all innovation in the process. Commoditization and competition catches up and you are left with a commodity. Would have also worked in the real estate meltdown instead of Dick Fuld walking away with a half a billion in earnings while he had rotted Lehman form the inside out in the process.

  24. Totally inaccurate.

    Announcement from BalckBerry;

    “I’d like to clarify that we are moving a small number of US-focused sales roles that were based in Canada to the U.S. to be more closely aligned with our customers. As a result, approximately 60 employees have been impacted, primarily in sales.

    As previously stated, we are in the second phase of our transformation plan. As part of this transformation, BlackBerry will continually evaluate its organization – from top to bottom – to ensure we have the right people, with the right skills in the right locations to drive new opportunities in mobile computing.”

    So, they are moving the US sales team to the US. Kind of makes sense.

  25. Imagine that! Moving your sales teams toward the customer. It is another example and data point to illustrate how screwed up the Blackberry organization was and how much HUBRIS was involved. This is WAY too little and WAY too late.

  26. @ Its ME –

    You say that like it is a bad thing.

    It is not possible to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Why do Blackberry think they are an exception? Maybe because they are an engineering dominated company and they think that because they have the brightest sequin in the room, all the ladies will want a taste? That is so typical of tech and engineering companies from HP to Motorola to IBM (prior to Lou Gerstner) to Nokia to Microsoft and on and on and on.

  27. Maybe you should spend a little time and get it right about the layoffs and not try always to be the first on the block.

  28. All off Black Berry’s marketing group should be fired! What a bunch of duds they are. What Blackberry needs to do is get phones into users hands and this means that you have a flexible and completely adjustable marketing pace and strategy. You target x number of phones per day and if you see you are not meeting these targets, you crank up the marketing, the promotions and the number off places launching until you start meeting targets! Anything goes – JUST MEET AND EXCEED THE TARGETS! if the phones are as good as some people say they are, then you have to do what ever is required to get them out their so that the competitors users will see what the Black Berry’s will do. One way or another, you got to MAKE THEM COOL AGAIN! I suspect that they have 1000’s of marketing people – Park them in 1000’s of the top retail locations for launch week – their only function is to show anyone who will listen what the phone can do. All their other duties do not matter squat if Black berry does not sell phones! I do not own the stock, never owned the stock and probably never will – Watching this disaster unfold over the past number of years can though be irritating though!

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