UPDATE 2-BlackBerry plans deep job cuts as new phone launches -report

Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:40pm EDT
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* Wall Street Journal says company could cut 40 pct of staff

* BlackBerry declines to confirm report

* Z30 launched on Wednesday, boasts five-inch touchscreen

* Z30 to hit UK, Mideast store shelves as early as next week

By Euan Rocha

TORONTO, Sept 18 (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd plans to slash thousands of jobs by the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, just as the company launches a flagship smartphone intended to revive its fortunes.

Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, the article said BlackBerry could cut up to 40 percent of its staff and the layoffs will happen across job functions and likely occur in waves.

Blackberry, which once dominated the corporate smartphone arena, has struggled in recent years to staunch loss of market share to such rivals as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

The company, which previously warned that job cuts were in the offing, declined to comment on the Journal's report or the magnitude of potential layoffs. It employed 12,700 people as of March, and once had almost 20,000 employees.   Continued...