Tag Archive | BlackBerry

BlackBerry Lays Off 250 Employees From Its New Product Testing And R&D Department

blackberry-q5-keys

Layoffs at Waterloo-based smartphone industry pioneer BlackBerry cut deep last year, with around 5,000 employees being let go. Those cuts continue into 2013 as BlackBerry undergoes what CEO Thorsten Heins called a “complex transition” earlier this month, and the latest is that 250 employees of its core R&D and new product testing facility have been let go as of earlier this week, as confirmed by Canada’s CTV News and by BlackBerry itself to TechCrunch.

That number pales in comparison to some of the massive cuts that came in big batches last year, including one 3,000 person block in August 2012. Last year, however, BlackBerry reportedly told its employees that if they were working on services or projects key to BlackBerry 10, they’d mostly likely be safe. These cuts appear to be closer to the bone, however, coming as they do at the heart of BlackBerry’s innovation efforts, which is why it’s perhaps more worrying for the company’s overall outlook than the big sweeping trimming of potentially redundant or sub-optimal departments last year.

BlackBerry is saying the change to employee count is all about efficiency, in a statement provided to TechCrunch (included in full below), but it’s hard to see a big batch of layoffs so near to R&D, which should be the lifeblood of any technology company, as a good sign. Heins’ strategy of cost-cutting and efficiency has helped BlackBerry manage to stay relatively strong on revenue, however, and to keep a healthy cash reserve on hand.

BlackBerry has a number of products in the pipeline, apparently, including the leaked A10 (and the somewhat unimpressive Q5), a new touchscreen flagship that’s rumored to be launched later this year. But that device looks to be quite far along already; this fresh report of staffing changes begs the question of how much more new hardware we have left to see beyond that.

The full statement from BlackBerry’s Lisette Kwong follows:

I can confirm on the record, that BlackBerry on Tuesday informed 250 employees of their termination in Waterloo. These employees were part of the New Product Testing Facility, a department that supports BlackBerry’s manufacturing and R&D efforts.

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.

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Google-Moto pulls in $228m following settlement with RIM

Mystery ‘company’ ponied up $175m in cash alone

Google’s new acquisition Motorola Mobility says it has bagged $228m so far from a patent licensing deal with another, unnamed company – which appears likely to be BlackBerry maker RIM.

The Chocolate Factory’s new mobile hardware tentacle got an upfront cash payment of $175m and a licensing agreement that brought its pre-tax gain up to $228m during the nine months until the start of October 2011, from “a company”.

The filing PDF (56-page/181KB) said in a mysterious fashion:

In June 2010, the Company announced that it had entered into a settlement and license agreement with another company, which resolved all outstanding litigation between the two companies. The agreement includes provisions for an upfront payment of $175 million from the other company to the Company, future royalties to be paid by the other company to the Company for the license of certain intellectual property, and the transfer of certain patents between the companies. As a result of this agreement and the valuation of the patents exchanged, the Company recorded a pre-tax gain of $228 million during the nine months ended October 2, 2010, related to the settlement of the outstanding litigation between the parties.

A Motorola Mobility spokesperson refused to reveal the name of the company. However the only licensing agreement and patent litigation settlement Motorola announced in June last year was the one with BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion (RIM). As of this article’s publication, RIM representatives had not responded to requests for comment.

The mobile manufacturer said it and RIM would “benefit from a long-term, intellectual property cross-licensing arrangement involving the parties receiving cross-licenses of various patent rights, including patent rights relating to certain industry standards and certain technologies, such as 2G, 3G, 4G, 802.11 and wireless email”.

The firm also said the two companies would transfer certain patents to each other, but added that the specific financial terms of the deal were confidential.

In today’s filing, Motorola Mobility said that it was still involved in a number of patent lawsuits that could impact its business, most notably suits and countersuits with Microsoft, but said some of these could be resolved soon.

“We are involved in significant patent litigation with industry competitors and other relevant patent holders. Several of these matters could be resolved during the remainder of 2011 or the first half of 2012,” the filing said.

The company also warned that its upcoming merger with Google – still awaiting approvals – could ramp up its legal issues.

“The announcement and pendency of the merger may have a negative impact on our business, financial results and operations or disrupt our business by … intensifying existing litigation or increasing new legal claims from our competitors and other third parties, particularly as companies vigorously pursue and protect their intellectual property rights with patent litigation,” the filing added.

The merger is also keeping the firm from any huge gains in its revenues, as its future as Googorola remains uncertain.

The mobile devices segment of its business, which shipped 11.6 million devices including 4.8 smartphones, recorded net revenues of $2.4bn compared to $2bn in the third quarter of last year. That gave it a slight reduction in losses from $43m in 2010 to $41m this year.

The total loss for Motorola Mobility in the third quarter was $32m down from $34m in Q3 2010.

BlackBerry Shares Crash on Word of Buyout Bid Failure

blackberry_sinkhole

Shares of the troubled Canadian wireless company BlackBerry fell by more than 16 percent in pre-market trading Monday, following the collapse of an expected buyout bid from Fairfax Financial. CEO Thorstein Heins was replaced, and former Sybase CEO John Chen was named interim CEO and executive chairman.

As of 9:20 am ET, BlackBerry shares were trading at $6.48, down by $1.29. At that price, BlackBerry’s market capitalization will be about $3.4 billion when the markets open for formal trading later this morning.

That would be only slightly more than $1 billion more than the combined cash and short-term investments it said it had on hand when it reported its latest quarterly results in September. If it were to fall much farther, it would be trading at levels near or possibly below the value of its cash holdings, which would imply that the marketplace considers the company essentially worthless.

The one bit of good news, if you can call it that, is that Fairfax said it would lead an effort to inject $1 billion in cash into BlackBerry’s coffers. Fairfax itself will put in about $250 million, calling it a “vote of confidence.”

Lenovo Really Did Want to Buy BlackBerry

BlameCanada

Lenovo’s long-rumored bid for languishing smartphone pioneer BlackBerry might have gained its legs were it not for the interference of the Canadian government.

Lenovo, the world’s largest manufacturer of PCs, was giving BlackBerry the once-over in October, with an eye toward acquiring it. The company had even signed a nondisclosure agreement to examine the smartphone maker’s books. But, according to a report in the Globe and Mail, the Canadian government warned BlackBerry that the national security issues surrounding its sale to a Chinese company could hamstring any deal the two companies might make.

“We have been pretty consistent that the message is Canada is open to foreign investment and investment from China in particular but not at the cost of compromising national security,” an anonymous Canadian government source told the publication. “I don’t think anybody should be surprised that we would have concerns like that.”

Evidently, Ottawa’s message to BlackBerry cooled the company’s dealings with Lenovo so much that it never even proposed a buyout scenario involving the Chinese company. Which is too bad, because sources told the Globe and Mail that Lenovo would likely have been willing to buy BlackBerry.

Here at AllThingsD, we’ve heard similar claims about Lenovo’s intentions, and they do make sense. A deal for BlackBerry might have been a good fit for Lenovo, now the world’s fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer. Certainly, it would have given the Chinese company a more globally renowned mobile brand and stronger carrier connections.

But it was not to be. And now BlackBerry must once again go it alone, having abandoned a concerted effort to sell itself to a large investor or outside suitor.

BlackBerry declined a request for comment. Lenovo did not respond to one.

Shelly Palmer Talks About the BlackBerry Q10 on Good Day Wake Up

Shelly Palmer chats with Juliet Huddy and Ben Simmoneau on Fox 5 s Good Day Wake Up about the BlackBerry Q10.

Shelly Palmer Talks Cell Phones on Always Mountain Time Radio

Shelly made an appearance on Always Mountain Time radio and hit on a wide array of topics in tech: the Connected World, how small businesses have had to change over the years and the different types of media that businesses have to deal with. He also talks about cell phones: why everyone hates the iPhone 5, why you should love the Galaxy S IV, why the Lumia 1020 matters, and why you’d want to buy the BlackBerry Q10.

Blackberry A10 LCD Screen and Digitizer Leaked

We have heard many rumors about BlackBerry working on a new flagship smartphone called the BlackBerry A10. The device has even shown up in a short video and in some leaked pictures. The rumored specs are that the BlackBerry A10 will have a 5 inch display, a dual core processor 2GB of RAM.

blackberry-a10-display

Unlocked Red BlackBerry Q5 Now Available

The unlocked red blackberry Q5 is now available in the UK from mobile retailer Clove, the handset retails for 330 including taxes, and it comes with BlackBerry 10.

The BlackBerry Q5 features a 3.1 inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 720 x 720 pixels, plus a full QWERTY keyboard, it also features front and rear facing cameras.

Red BlackBerry Q5

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