BlackBerry shares ceased trading today, with the stock frozen as the struggling Canadian company announced 4,500 job losses and plans to “refocus” on enterprise and prosumer customers rather than the mass market. The decision to hold stock, which had dropped 2.4-percent on Friday, comes as BlackBerry predicts a huge operating loss in fiscal Q2 of between $950m and $995m. The company will announce its official financial results for the most recent quarter next week.
According to the company, revenue for Q2 is likely to reach $1.6bn, with sales of 3.7m smartphones in the three month period. That’s not enough to guarantee a profitable future, however, and so BlackBerry is making some heavy cuts to its staff, range, and ambitions.
The future smartphone portfolio will now be trimmed to just four devices – two for the high-end and two for the entry-level market – rather than six, BlackBerry says, all focused on enterprise and prosumer markets. “Most” of the 3.7m BlackBerry phone sales impacting Q2 revenues were BlackBerry 7 handsets, the company admits, but says that around 5.9m devices were sold to end customers altogether, including “shipments made prior to the second quarter and which reduced the Company’s inventory in channel.”
BlackBerry has attempted to ease its way back into relevance in recent months, announcing the fourth smartphone to run BlackBerry 10, the Z30, earlier this week. Meanwhile, versions of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for iOS and Android are expected to hit the relevant app stores this weekend.
However, big cuts are still planned, as BlackBerry targets a 50-percent cut in operating expenditures by the end of Q1 fiscal 2015.
As for the BlackBerry Z10, the company plans to “re-tier” the all-touch phone “to make it available to a broader, entry-level audience.” The four-strong range will include both all-touch and QWERTY devices.