Canada’s industry minister hopes BlackBerry can survive, despite 40% job cuts

Canadian Industry Minister James Moore has told reporters he believes the embattled smartphone market can survive less than a day after reports suggested the company was on the verge of slashing its workforce by 40%.

As SmartCompany reported yesterday, BlackBerry has announced the release of a number of long-awaited products, including its new 5-inch Z30 smartphone, the version 10.2 update to its operating system allowing Android app compatibility and the release of BlackBerry Messenger for iOS and Android.

However, the product announcements were overshadowed by reports, first surfacing in the Wall Street Journal, that the company was also about to slash its global workforce by 40%.

Meanwhile, the company is currently up for sale, with directors hoping the sale process will be wrapped up by November, however, any foreign takeover offer would be subject to Canadian foreign investment laws.

According to Reuters, Moore confirmed a series of meetings between himself, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and senior managers from the company.

“Through my department, they met with officials, and I think they explored a number of the questions that were on the horizon, but I think the issues that BlackBerry was approaching us with a month ago [were] very different than the news that came out [about the job cuts].”

While Moore had acknowledged in a previous interview the company’s QNX-based BlackBerry 10 smartphone platform, he expressed hope the platform can still be competitive to iOS and Android under the right management.

“I want BlackBerry to do well. I want BlackBerry to grow and to continue to employ Canadians to continue to innovate and be a challenger to the Android and iOS platforms and Windows platforms and to create a good product that’s doing well, Moore says.

Moore also revealed the company was not currently asking for a bailout from the government.

“Frankly, I haven’t been asked personally in that regard, but we’re hopeful that they’ll be able to make it on their own,” he says.


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