A new report from Reuters points to more BlackBerry layoffs occurring last week as the company prepares to launch its first Android-powered smartphone codename Venice. According to the report, BlackBerry has laid off around 200 employees from its hardware and design teams. This move reportedly comes after the Venice project was completed, and puts in doubt what BlackBerry could do for future handsets it may want to launch.
In a statement to Reuters, BlackBerry doubles down on the fact that it’s moving around its resources to better fit its needs going forward:
“Our intention is to reallocate resources in ways that will best enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities while driving toward sustainable profitability across all facets of our business.”
And indeed the company has. BlackBerry has continued to hire employees, but more for its QNX embedded systems division than anything else. BlackBerry 10 development and developer resources seem to be in a freeze, and the latest cuts in hardware and design definitely don’t help the notion of future BlackBerry 10 devices.
BlackBerry CEO John Chen has said for quite some time that if the hardware division does not provide the company with enough revenue, he would not keep it around. In 2014, BlackBerry sold just 7 million devices all year, missing the CEO’s target mark of 10 million.
In 2015, BlackBerry has put their focus squarely on software and security. Their BES offering continues to be a worldwide leader, and after acquiring software firms like AtHoc and competitor Good Technology, this seems to be the best path for profitability in the long term.
It seems more and more like BlackBerry’s Venice Slider could be the company’s last attempt at hardware. These latest layoffs only promote that notion even more going forward.
BlackBerry is scheduled to announced its quarterly earnings report on Friday, September 25.