BlackBerry Closing Design Operations In Sweden, Affecting Up To one hundred fifty Staff

BlackBerry Closing Design Operations In Sweden, Affecting Up To 150 Employees

Earlier this week smartphone maker BlackBerry confirmed it acquired Israel’s WatchDox to construct out its safety software program enterprise, however it seems like it might be downsizing elsewhere. In line with studies from Swedish information websites, BlackBerry is closing down its software program design operations in Sweden — a enterprise that grew out of its acquisition of UI startup The Astonishing Tribe in 2010.

One report from Swedish website 8till5 notes layoffs of one hundred in Malmo; different studies from information website Rapidus and monetary newspaper Svenska Dagbladet says will probably be letting go simply over one hundred fifty staff: ninety three in Malmö and 60 in Gothenburg.

Quite a few BlackBerry spokespeople that we have now tried to contact to verify the small print haven’t responded to our requests for remark. When reached by telephone, a switchboard operator in BlackBerry’s Swedish workplace in Malmö informed TechCrunch that she was instructed to not touch upon the report.

Rapidus and SvD each quote Hans Björkqvist, a regional supervisor for the Swedish commerce union Unionen, confirming that Blackberry is now in negotiations over closing operations.

Assuming the numbers are correct, it’s not clear what operations will probably be affected, and the place that work will shift.

BlackBerry’s acquisition of The Astonishing Tribe for SEK800,000 (about $ninety two million) made plenty of waves when it occurred almost 5 years in the past. The Swedish design agency was behind the consumer interface of the primary Android telephone, the G1, and on the time of the acquisition was (presciently) engaged on customized residence screens for Android units.

As BlackBerry famous on the time, it purchased TAT partially to work on the UI for its finally ailing-fated PlayBook pill, but in addition to lend design experience to different touchscreen merchandise developed by BlackBerry, particularly smartphones and related automotive methods.

2010 was a really totally different state of affairs within the cellular world. Whereas BlackBerry was already seeing a few of the influence of Android and iOS reputation by itself handset gross sales, it wasn’t out of the sport altogether and nonetheless had an opportunity to show issues round.

Figures from Gartner from 2010 present that BlackBerry (or Analysis In Movement because it was referred to as then) was simply two proportion factors behind Apple’s iOS in smartphone market share, with round 15% of all gross sales, rating quantity 4 in a market nonetheless dominated by Nokia. Nonetheless, it was already beginning its slip: a yr earlier than, in 2009, RIM was quantity two simply behind Nokia’s Symbian.

Quick-ahead to at present and issues are totally different, certainly. Gartner says that within the final quarter BlackBerry had simply zero.6% of all smartphone gross sales.

Beneath its present CEO John Chen, BlackBerry has been making an attempt to make a gradual shift as a enterprise during the last a number of quarters, to focus extra on software program and return to its enterprise roots — which is the place the WatchDox acquisition squarely matches.

As we identified earlier within the week once we reported on the WatchDox acquisition, BlackBerry truly posted a revenue final quarter of $28 million, however on declining revenues of $660 million, down from $976 million a yr earlier than. In different phrases, revenue was largely right down to drastic value slicing, not enterprise progress. Certainly, as Rapidus notes, the corporate laid off greater than 1,800 staff within the final monetary yr.

We’ll replace this submit as we study extra.