BlackBerry wraps up restructuring process, steps up recruitment

Summary:The handset maker has concluded a difficult restructuring process, and says steady growth is now on the horizon.

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BlackBerry has wrapped up a lengthy and painful restructuring process and can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, according to an internal memo sent to employees.

The memo, seen by Reuters, said the restructuring efforts are now complete, and layoffs, the sale of assets and a change in business direction for the once-dominant handset maker will now come to a close.

BlackBerry CEO said within the internal memo:

"We have completed the restructuring notification process, and the workforce reduction that began three years ago is now behind us.

More importantly, barring any unexpected downturns in the market, we will be adding headcount in certain areas such as product development, sales and customer service, beginning in modest numbers."

Over the past three years, the Canadian firm has sliced away its workforce by roughly 40 percent. Stiff competition in the smartphone sector from rivals including Apple and Samsung eroded the company's dominant position, to the extent that sales plummeted and placed BlackBerry's future in jeopardy. In order to try and stem the tide and bring BlackBerry back to profit, Chen took over the chief executive role eight months ago -- forcing through additional restructuring efforts in the process.

Aside from laying off staff, the handset maker has also sold off a number of non-core assets, some real estate and refocused the company to specialize in mobile security and enterprise software, including corporate device management.

Chen said he is now confident that the firm has the right management team and staff in place to ensure the handset maker's future success.

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Last week, BlackBerry announced its intention to acquire Secusmart , a German company which specializes in mobile security. Such a deal highlights BlackBerry's redoubled focus on the enterprise and security, and shows the firm is now in a stable enough financial position to purchase technology which enriches its own security and enterprise management portfolio.

The acquisition was announced at the firm's BlackBerry Summit, where Chen said providing security strong enough for "the country's highest public officials," as well as offering the BES 12 platform, will hopefully entice new customers to the enterprise fold -- as well as retain current users.

In BlackBerry's Q1 2014 revenue report , released in June, the company beat analyst expectations and reported net income of $23 million with earnings of $0.04 per share, in comparison with a loss of $84 million — 16 cents a share -- a year earlier. Revenue loss for Q1 was $966 million, down down $10 million quarter-on-quarter and from $3.07 billion in 2013, but this is still an improvement and shows a potential level of promise following the restructuring process.

Within the memo, Chen reiterated there is "no margin for error to complete BlackBerry's turnaround to success," and he asked BlackBerry employees to remain focused as upgrades to its device management system are made and new handsets are rolled out over this year -- including the BlackBerry Passport, a chunky smartphone aimed at executives which is expected to launch this month.

Topics: BlackBerry, Mobility

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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