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BlackBerry lays off 250 employees in latest round of cuts

Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone handsets are pictured in this illustration picture taken in Lavigny, July 21, 2012. Picture t
Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone handsets are pictured in this illustration picture taken in Lavigny, July 21, 2012. Picture t

TORONTO (Reuters) - BlackBerry Ltd has laid off about 250 of its employees at its headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, as part of its latest move to trim costs, the smartphone maker said on Thursday.

"This is part of the next stage of our turnaround plan to increase efficiencies and scale our company," a BlackBerry spokeswoman said.

The company, which last year cut thousands of jobs, recently hinted that more reductions were in the offing.

Last month, BlackBerry reported dismal quarterly results, which triggered a 28 percent plunge in its share price.

Sales of its make-or-break new line of smartphones came in well below some analysts' expectations. The results offered little evidence that the company could quickly win back market share from Apple Inc's iPhone as well as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy devices and other phones powered by Google Inc's Android operating system.

The company, which had roughly 12,700 full-time employees, as of March 2, said the employees being laid off were part of the new product testing unit, a team that supports its manufacturing, and research and development efforts.

BlackBerry recently said it no longer planned to migrate its new BlackBerry 10 operating system across to its Playbook tablet, as the hardware on that device was not powerful enough to provide a smooth experience for users.

Many take this as a sign that BlackBerry plans to phase out the poorly received device. It sold only 100,000 Playbooks in the last quarter.

In contrast, Apple reported earlier this week that it sold 14.6 million iPad tablets in its last quarter.

Shares of BlackBerry were flat in morning trading.

(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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