BlackBerry announced today it will lay off 4,500 workers by the end of the year to remain competitive in the mobile market. In a press release, the company said it needs to reduce its operating costs by half. President and Chief Executive Officer Thorsten Heins said, “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."
The Wall Street Journal reports that two years ago, BlackBerry employed 17,000 people worldwide. In March of this year, that number had dropped to 12,700.
In other fund-saving measures, the cell phone giant will also cut its manufacturing from a portfolio smart phone models of six to four. With the launch of the new BlackBerry Z30, available in the U.S. this holiday season, the previous generation Z10 will be re-tiered to reach a broader, entry-level audience.
Heins says going forward, BlackBerry will refocus on its software and services for the productive, professional end user.