The former favorite mobile device of corporations everywhere had a pretty rough week. After years of dwindling sales and transitions in the smartphone marketplace, BlackBerry posted a $965 million loss on sales of $1.6 billion in its fiscal second quarter. Timing of the bad news coincided with the announcement of Apple’s new flagship iPhone 5s, offered at an unprecedentedly low price point of $199.
The Canadian company, formerly known as Research in Motion (RIM), entered the marketplace in 1984 as a provider of advanced pagers before moving towards the classic BlackBerry phone design that truly revolutionized the corporate email game. As the company evolved, a greater focus was placed on the convergent nature of its technology and certain device features, like drupelet-shaped keys (leading to the BlackBerry name) and trackball pointers, became hallmarks of the brand.
Despite continued heavy usage by government agencies and transit staff, primarily thanks to high-security encryption features, the loss statement came alongside an update that the company has agreed to sell itself for $4.7 billion. BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial, headed by a former BlackBerry board member, will likely be the company’s purchaser – with a deal scheduled for early November. The deal gives the company additional time to strategize and attempt to revamp their image. Current plans include to exclusively market two devices moving forward: high-end handheld phones targeted towards the business market.
What does this mean for the world of technology staffing? As a result of the major revenue loss, BlackBerry will be slashing over a third of their global workforce. These 4,500 job cuts come after several other major rounds of job cuts in the past twelve months. One less competitor in the world of mobile technology and a significant addition to the I.T. candidate pool will help drive the action towards Android and iOS-related businesses. With BlackBerry’s development team utilizing a wide range of technologies and programming languages (HTML, AIR, C++, etc.) the market is open for a diverse set of professionals looking for work in multiple locations, including their global headquarters in Ottawa, Canada and offices in Texas and the United Kingdom. This continues a trend over the past few years of former BlackBerry professionals trickling back into the marketplace, first from top executives and now individual developer contributors that provided the infrastructure support behind their systems.