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BlackBerry to lay off 4,500 employees, as losses mount

The former smartphone market leader announced on Friday it will let 40 percent of its global workforce go.

Geoff Robins, The Canadian Press/AP/File
In this July 9, 2013, file photo, pedestrians walk near BlackBerry's headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario.

BlackBerry says it will lay off 4,500 employees, or 40 percent of its global workforce, as it reports a nearly $1 billion second-quarter loss in a surprise early release of earnings results.

The stock dropped 19 percent to $8.50 after reopening for trading. Shares had been halted pending the news.

BlackBerry had been scheduled to release earnings next week. But the Canadian company said late Friday afternoon it expects a loss of about $950 million to $995 million for the quarter, including a massive inventory charge due to increasing market competition.

The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, was the dominant smartphone for on-the-go business people and other customers before Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007. Since then, BlackBerry Ltd. has been hammered by competition from the iPhone as well as Android-based rivals like Samsung.

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