Throughout 2012, BlackBerry (RIM at the time) laid off thousands of workers in an attempt to shore up quarterly numbers. The company was still months away from the reveal of its BlackBerry 10 smartphones, and analysts had begun writing the company off.
BlackBerry made it to January and unveiled its smartphones, which the company believed would revitalize its sales and put it back into the mobile phone race. That hasn't proved out, and BlackBerry is now struggling financially. The company announced last month that it is now exploring "strategic alternatives," including a possible sale of the company.
While last year's layoffs were only several-thousand employees in a few batches throughout the year, this year's cuts will be much more drastic. The Wall Street Journal this week reported that BlackBerry will be laying off up to 40% of its already reduced workforce by the end of the year. According to BlackBerry's latest workforce estimates (12,500 as of March of this year), 40% of its current staff would be over 5,000 employees. The company still employed over 16,000 workers as of spring 2012.
The report's unnamed "people familiar with the matter," stated that the layoffs will occur much as they did last year, with batches of several thousand being let go over time. The Wall Street Journal also previously reported that smaller batches of layoffs occurred in BlackBerry's R&D division throughout the summer.