BlackBerry shuts down Ottawa Product Development Centre, lays off 90 employees

Ian Hardy

March 20, 2014 8:59am

The last time we heard about BlackBerry’s Ottawa office was in 2012 when employees were asked to limit their summer vacation on work overtime to launch the new BlackBerry 10. At the time, the Ottawa office was called the “epicentre” of the BlackBerry 10 development

A new report in the Ottawa Citizen reveals that BlackBerry has decided to shut down the Product Development Centre hardware group in Ottawa and shed 90 employees. The Ottawa office has over 1,000 employees. Apparently this specific team was responsible for developing the BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry 10 OS and the BlackBerry Z10.

These cuts, while unfortunate, are part of the previous announcement from last year that will see a reduction in BlackBerrys workforce by 40% to approximately 7,600 people worldwide. In a previous statement, BlackBerry noted that “We recognize our local employees’ hard work on behalf of our company and the difficulty of this news. And we will do everything in our power to treat our employees with compassion, while offering support during this time of transition.”

BlackBerry is set to announce their year-end and Q4 fiscal 2014 results on March 28th.

Source: OttawaCitizen
Via: CBC

  • jroc

    Serious question…how many employees do they have left? It has to be getting pretty low.

    • Columbo

      I think they had 13,000 and planned to go down to 7,000 (these cuts are still part of that same plan). So, right now, somewhere between those 2 numbers.

  • Anthony Roberts

    Blackberry had over 10000 employees before which was too much and now with their focus and outsourcing hardware for low end and mid tier to foxconn this makes sense but my prayers goes to those who lost their job. They need to this to lean out the company and start being profitable….this is a norm when a company going through a restructuring phase…as IBM…Rogers…and other companies have done in the past it happens…

  • Columbo

    You might not like BlackBerry but these are real people who lost their jobs.

    • Surveillance

      You’re exactly right. But how many of those real people saw the writing on the wall and prepared accordingly? I’m hoping all of them as surely they all knew this day was coming.

    • Columbo

      Hopefully it wasn’t a complete shock to them but sometimes as hard as you try to prepare it’s still going to be a blow. Have 90 new mobile tech jobs opened in Ottawa in the last little bit? Maybe, but almost certainly not.

      I work in a research centre, and one of the researchers announced last year that he was retiring. He only has 4 people in his lab. In the past year, just 2 of them have found another job; the other 2 are getting desperate. I can only imagine if it was 90…

  • Surveillance

    Thanks for getting that song stuck in my head. Although I suppose there are way worse songs you could have used.

  • Omis

    They loved you guys when you cancelled your vacations and worked all that OT to get BB10 out the door. Was it worth it?

    • Anaron

      They were paid for their work so I’d say yes, it was worth it. It was a risk and I’m sure they were well aware of that fact.

  • Wizzy

    Sucks for these employees, but anybody in the tech business for any length of time knows that nothing is forever in technology. Time to hitch your wagon to the next thing. In Canada, however, there might not be a next big thing. We just can’t compete globally.