BlackBerry Lays Off Thousands, Reports Near-Billion Loss

A blog about business and economics.
Sept. 20 2013 5:31 PM

BlackBerry Lays Off Thousands, Reports Near-Billion Loss

101944132
It's got a real keyboard and everything.

Photo by PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images

BlackBerry announced today that it's laying off 4,500 people and will be posted a loss of nearly $1 billion in the second quarter as it writes down the value of unsold inventory. Ian Austen writing for the New York Times is still entertaining the theory that the company somehow might be saved by going private: "Under such a scenario,it would no longer have to manage quarterly financial results and appease public investors who are often interest in short-term stock gains."

I'd say dream on. You've got iPhone doing what it's doing. Then you've got a whole bunch of companies making Android phones, most of them doing so for near-zero profit margins. Then you have Microsoft losing money on its Windows Phone endeavors but with all the vast profits of Windows/Office to back up its efforts to break into mobile. What kind of opportunity does that leave for BlackBerry even if they had amazing success on the engineering front?

Advertisement

At any rate, watching BlackBerry's various executives flail around for the past few years has been fun, but we're now deep into the "tragic layoffs ruining the lives of thousands of rank-and-file workers" phase of this and there are all kinds of sad knock-on consequences for the town of Waterloo and the larger region. But it's just extremely difficult to imagine any scenario under which the company can stay viable at this point. Despite the way the iPhone damaged BlackBerry's business, you could see recovering from a blow like that. But what Google's done in terms of unleashing a quality free mobile phone operating system onto the market makes the whole situation impossible.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.