The Lord High Executioner back to take another swing at BlackBerry workers
According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) a further 5,080 staff out of BlackBerry's current workforce of 12,700 will be washed out to sea in a series of redundancy "waves" that will come ploughing up Waterloo's rocky beach to drown them.
Contacted by WSJ journalists the PR department at BlackBerry would neither confirm nor deny the story (one can therefore take it that is it spot on accurate) and instead trotted out this mealy-mouthed, weasel-worded statement: "As previously stated we are in the second phase of our transformation plan. Organisational moves will continue to occur to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive new opportunities in mobile computing."
Back in 2011 (so near and yet so very, very far away for a once great company) BlackBerry had a workforce of 17,000. Since then close to 5,000 workers (in Canada, the US, the UK and Europe) have ben organisationally moved into joblessness. Now another 5000 plus will join them.
Basically, BlackBerry put itself up for sale last month and while the rank and file employees face redundancy, the quiet transfer of senior executives into BlackBerry's Messenger business (BBM) continues apace as the much-rumoured spin-off of the division approaches.
A week tomorrow (September 27) BlackBerry must publish its Q2 results. They are expected to be appalling. Indeed, company CEO Thorsten Heins has already indicated that the news will be bad and yet another operating loss is expected. If that is the case (and it is) then Blackberry will have made an operating loss in seven consecutive quarters.
Meanwhile efforts to sell BlackBerry seem to have come to naught. The company wants to get itself sold by November but that looks increasingly unlikely to happen given that, to date, there have been no (that's zip, nada, nix, none) public offers have been received from private equity companies. That said, no doubt there will be secret talks going on but none of them bode well for BlackBerry. This company is effectively a dead duck.
New figures from the market research house Kantar Worldpanel ComTech show that last year in the UK BlackBerry' share of the UK market fell from 11 per cent to a miserable 3.5 per cent as rivals Android, Apple's iOS and Windows Phone ripped into the company's guts.
In the UK today, the Android OS has 55.2 per cent market share, iOS has 31.1 per cent and Windows Phone 9.2, more than doubling the 4.2 per cent it had the year before.
Given those figures (and they are writ much larger in North America) and another swingeing riund of job cuts BlackBerry may be in such a parlous state that it will have to fall back into being a rump 'software and services' business serving an established base of big enterprise customers, the public sector and governments and the financial sector.
How are the mighty fallen.
As WS Gilbert has it in "The Mikado":
"Behold the Lord High Executioner
A personage of noble rank and title
A dignified and potent officer,
Whose functions are particularly vital!"