BlackBerry to Lay Off 4,500 Employees

12:56 PM PST 09/20/2013 by The Associated Press
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BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins

The company is planning to let go 40 percent of its global workforce.

TORONTO (AP) — BlackBerry says it will lay off 4,500 employees, or 40 percent of its global workforce, as it reports a nearly $1 billion second-quarter loss in a surprise early release of earnings results.

The stock dropped 19 percent to $8.50 after reopening for trading. Shares had been halted pending the news.

STORY: BlackBerry Explores Possible Company Sale 

BlackBerry had been scheduled to release earnings next week. But the Canadian company said late Friday afternoon it expects a loss of about $950 million to $995 million for the quarter, including a massive inventory charge due to increasing market competition.

The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, was the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other customers before Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007. Since then, BlackBerry Ltd. has been hammered by competition from the iPhone as well as Android-based rivals like Samsung.

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