BlackBerry has closed the book on its three-year extensive workforce reduction process, according to an internal memo to employees obtained by Reuters. The note from BlackBerry CEO John Chen says that all notifications which were sent out to employees being let go as part of the restructuring have now gone out, and in fact, the company will begin hiring in key areas including product development, sales and customer service, in modest numbers and provided the market doesn’t get unexpectedly worse.
BlackBerry’s employee base has seen drastic cuts over the last three years, with a restructuring that was begun in earnest under former CEO Thorsten Heins. The process continued under Chen as planned, and the resulting BlackBerry is a much leaner organization, having dropped around 60 percent of its headcount from its total workforce size three years go.
The memo also highlighted BlackBerry’s new ability to make strategic acquisitions, like when it purchased Secusmart last week, the German firm that creates high-level encryption that is designed to thwart even government attempts to infiltrate networks and communications. The memo ended with a call for the company to rally behind its new upcoming hardware launches, which include the BlackBerry Passport and BlackBerry Passport, both of which are scheduled to become available this fall for consumers.
This is a key turning point in BlackBerry’s attempt at a turnaround – watching it pivot to a focus on growth after a protracted period of cost-cutting measures will offer more insight into Chen’s plan to save the company, and what that might entail. Given the level of attention paid by BlackBerry on the Passport, devices still form an important part of that picture, but its enterprise sales side now has to deal with a joint attack by IBM and Apple. One thing’s certain: even with the major workforce restructuring behind them, BlackBerry still has plenty of challenges left to face.