BlackBerry's Ottawa product development center closes doors
Alas, we continue this week's BlackBerry news stream with another somber event. Under John Chen's command, the Canadian company has decided to shut down its product development center in Ottawa. 90 employees that have worked on top-priority projects, such as the BlackBerry Bold, BB10, and the BlackBerry Z10, will be let go. This is a big, symbolic loss, as in better times, BlackBerry's former CEO, Thorsten Heins, referred to its business in the Canadian capitol as "the epicentre of BlackBerry 10 development.”
Apparently, the cuts happened on the same day (March 18) in which BlackBerry announced that it has fired 120 workers from its product development and wireless innovations teams in Waterloo. Sadly, this recent spree of job cuts has been coming for a long time. Last year, the company announced that it intends to reduce its workforce by up to 40% until May 2014 in an effort to become profitable again. In addition, BlackBerry has put more than 2.2 million square feet of its Canadian real estate for sale. It also sold its US headquarters in Irving, Texas.
The company expects to turn its fortunes around by focusing on enterprise software and innovations, while consumer devices will remain in the periphery. Still, BlackBerry has already come up with two new smartphones, and an octa-core 64-bit flagship model is somewhere down the line. It recently signed a manufacturing and device design deal with China's Foxconn, which means the company no longer needs to maintain some of its former product development structures. However, current CEO John Chen has talked at length about BlackBerry's plans to build a Security Innovations Center in Washington, and expressed a lot of confidence in the various technologies that the company is developing for the future. It's safe to say that BlackBerry won't leave its core business and attitude behind.