A very black Friday for BlackBerry

A very black Friday for BlackBerryFridays tend to be good days for most of us, for a variety of reasons. But if you're looking for an example of a real stinker of a Friday, you'll go far to top the one BlackBerry had at the tail end of last week.

As if confirmation of the rumoured 40% across-the-board job cuts and warnings of a $1bn quarterly loss wasn't enough, BlackBerry topped things off by cancelling the planned rollout of BBM for Android and iOS.

That's the official rollout – apparently over a million Android users had already downloaded a leaked version, and it's issues that have arisen with that release that are behind the decision to press the pause button on both the Android and iOS version of the app.

BlackBerry says those who have already been able to download the iOS verson of BBM (depending on region) will still be able to use it, but it won't be releasing it to any further markets while it sorts out the current problems.

The leaked version of the Android BBM app, meanwhile, will be completely disabled.

There's no timeframe as yet for when the rollout will be started up again, but in reality the “end of summer” timeframe we were promised earlier in the year has now been completely missed.

Back then, it looked like the cross-platform expansion of BBM would be a key move in BlackBerry's battle against Microsoft's Windows Phone to be the third force in mobile behind Android and iOS.

How things have changed. Friday saw BlackBerry detail a net operating loss of between $950m and $995m for its fiscal 2014 second quarter.

As a result, the company's device portfolio will be cut from six to four, and will be specifically “enterprise and prosumer-centric devices, including 2 high-end devices and 2 entry-level devices”.

It's part of a general refocusing away from the pain of the consumer market, and will see BB concentrate solely on the “enterprise and prosumer market, offering end-to-end solutions, including hardware, software and services”.

A total of 4,500 staff will be let go as the company seeks to halve its operating costs over the next year, and all the while the Special Committee of the Board will continue to evaluate strategic alternatives – i.e. options to sell either all or part of the company to outside parties.

Read more about: BlackBerry 10

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