BlackBerry has just announced that it expects to post a net operating loss of roughly $1 billion for the fiscal second quarter, the figure is expected to range between $950 million to $995 million. It was reported a few days ago that the company was contemplating laying off 40 percent of its entire workforce. BlackBerry has now confirmed that massive job cuts are going to take place, nearly 4,500 employees will be laid off from all departments. Trading of BlackBerry shares halted for a while in the U.S. prior to the announcement, trading has now resumed but the stock is down 16 percent as of this writing.

Total smartphone sales in the quarter are expected to be around 3.7 million units, as opposed to 7.4 million this time last year. No word as yet on service revenues and remaining number of subscribers. The situation isn’t expected to get better anytime soon. In fact, many analysts are of the view that perhaps BlackBerry’s phone business will have zero value if the company is sold. There’s also been chatter today that BlackBerry has retained PriceWaterHouse for a leveraged buyout. Recent reports suggest that the company is looking for a quick sale, which it hopes to close by November. Apparently, there’s thin interest in the market right now for a whole acquisition of BlackBerry. The company says that it will focus on offering two high end and two entry level devices from now on, with focus on the entreprise market.

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