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BlackBerry to cut 4,500 jobs after losing nearly $1bn in wake of poor sales of its Z10 smartphone


Smartphone maker BlackBerry has said it plans to cut 4,500 jobs after losing nearly $1bn (£620m) in the third quarter of this year.

The troubled tech giant, which once dominated the business market for mobile phones, said the move would represent a loss of 40 per cent of its global workforce.

Its announcement comes just weeks after the firm said it was considering putting itself up for sale as demand for its handsets dries up.

BlackBerry had been due to release earnings figures next week, but chose to post the devastating losses prematurely tonight.

It said it expected to lose between $950m (£593m) and $995m for the third quarter of this year, which ended on August 31.

The news sent the price of its shares, which once traded at $200, plummeting 19 per cent to $8.50.

"We are implementing the difficult, but necessary operational changes announced today to address our position in a maturing and more competitive industry, and to drive the company toward profitability," its chief executive, Thorsten Heins said in a statement.

The Canadian company, which was founded in 1999 and at its peak employed 20,000 people, has struggled to claw back market share from the likes of Apple's iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phones.

UBS analyst Amitabh Passi said it was clear that the manufacturer had endured a “pretty difficult” quarter, “but this is much worse than we expected.”

Ryan Cram, an analyst at Charter Equity Research, added that the job losses “make sense from a survival standpoint.”

“That's really what they're trying to do these days,” he said.

"It just shows the dire situation they're in. It's going to be tough for them to overcome."

Last month, Mr Heins said there were still "compelling long-term opportunities" for new BlackBerry phones, and the business was continuing to launch products.