BlackBerry cuts 200 jobs in Ontario and Florida to trim costs

TORONTO BlackBerry Ltd is cutting 200 jobs at its hometown headquarters in Ontario and in Florida in order to trim costs, it said on Friday, as the smartphone maker moves to turn around its fortunes and put more emphasis on its enterprise software business."As BlackBerry continues to execute its turnaround plan, we remain focused on driving efficiencies across our global workforce," the company said in an emailed statement.The company declined to comment on what percentage of its workforce is affected by the cuts. According to a filing, the company had 6,225 employees as of Feb. 28, 2015. The layoffs will affect 75 manufacturing jobs in Sunrise, Florida, a state government website showed. The company also confirmed that Gary Klassen is one of the people who has departed in the latest round of cuts. Klassen was one of its longest-tenured employees and the inventor of its BBM messaging service. One source familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue, said many of the Canadian cuts were people working on its BB10 handset software at its Waterloo, Ontario, headquarters.A spokeswoman for BlackBerry declined to comment on which divisions will be affected by the cuts, but said the company stood by its commitment to release further updates on its BB10 software. Last September, the company laid off roughly 200 staff, who had worked on the hardware and design of the BB10 devices. The company began releasing the BB10-based devices in January 2013, but despite positive reviews the smartphones failed to win back market share from Apple Inc's iPhone, and the slew of Android-based devices that dominate the global market. In a final attempt to revive its handset business BlackBerry released its first Android-based device in November. It has stated it plans to release at least one more Android-based phone this year. BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen has said he will make a decision on whether the company's handset business is viable in the financial year beginning in late February.BlackBerry has staked its turnaround on enterprise software and more aggressively licensing its trove of patents. (Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Matthew Lewis) Read more

Foxconn CEO meeting with Sharp execs on Friday; Sharp shares soar

TAIPEI/TOKYO Foxconn Chief Executive Officer Terry Gou is in Osaka to meet executives of Japan's Sharp Corp, a Sharp spokesman said, one day after the struggling electronics maker said it was focusing on the Taiwan firm's takeover bid over a rival offer from a Japanese state-backed fund.Shares in Osaka-based Sharp soared 10 percent in early morning trade, bringing two-day gains to 29 percent.Gou plans to brief the media in Osaka at 0600 GMT (3.00 p.m. Japan time), the Sharp spokesman said. Foxconn, known formally as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, has offered to invest around 659 billion yen ($5.6 billion) in the struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp, people familiar with the matter said.One person said Sharp's board had voted 13-0 to negotiate with Foxconn instead of the state-backed Japanese fund, the Innovation Network Corp of Japan. The people declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The Sharp spokesman declined to comment further. Foxconn declined to comment. A takeover by Foxconn, which assembles various electronics products such as smartphones and television sets for Apple, Sony Corp and many other major international companies, would vastly expand sales channels for Sharp's liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.While a generous Foxconn offer had been flagged, many investors in Japan were surprised to see an overseas firm gain the upper hand over a state fund. The decision comes after months of uncertainty over the fate of the company, whose display panel business has continued to suffer massive losses despite two major bailouts by its banks in the last four years. ($1 = 116.8500 yen) (Reporting by J.R. Wu and Ritsuko Ando; Writing by Edwina Gibbs) Read more

Crowded GoPro short sellers may soon face squeeze

SAN FRANCISCO GoPro's fall from grace has created a rush by traders to short the camera maker's stock, but they may soon face a squeeze as institutional shareholders sell their shares after six months of declines.GoPro's troubles worsened on Wednesday when it forecast current-quarter revenue well below analysts' estimates, adding to a string of disappointments by a company that a year ago was a Wall Street favorite.Its stock dropped 7.5 percent on Thursday to $9.88.Short interest in GoPro increased to 25.7 percent of its outstanding shares in mid-January from 23.9 percent in mid-December, according to Nasdaq data. "All the monster hedge funds have their positions set. Now it's everyone else scrambling to pick up what they can," said Ihor Dusaniwsky, managing director of research at S3 Partners, which sells securities lending data and advises investors.With the supply of shares for borrowing already low, Dusaniwsky warned that he is seeing early signs of institutional shareholders recalling and selling shares they had previously loaned to short sellers. Short sellers borrow shares and then sell them, hoping to buy them back at a lower price to make a profit. If the lender unexpectedly recalls those shares, the short seller must find a new lender or, if that is not possible, buy the shares back and potentially lose money."We're getting to that point right now with GoPro," Dusaniwsky said. GoPro's stock has fallen 84 percent from record highs in August. It recently traded at 17 times expected earnings, a bit above rival Garmin, at 15 times earnings. (Reporting by Noel Randewich) Read more

This Chinese New Year is all monkey business for brands

It's the Year of the Monkey this Chinese New Year, and brands are all monkeying around for the occasion. From fashion accessories to game consoles, brands are taking the chance to go all out with monkey-themed designs and packaging. And the best bit? You don't have to be born in the year of the monkey to get in on the fun. See also: Apple is releasing a red and gold Watch just for Chinese New Year Here are six cute ways to ring in the new Chinese animal zodiac, so go crazy. Year of the Monkey 1. Dunhill monkey cufflinks Who said cufflinks had to be predictable? You can now ditch your run-of-the-mill cufflinks and show off your adorkable side with this pair of metallic monkeys that's sure to start a conversation with that cutie you're always running into at the pantry. If these cufflinks are too funky for your bank job, leave them for casual Fridays. 2. Kipling monkey print city backpack This is truly Kipling's year. The Belgian bag and accessories label is known for its nylon fabric and monkey mascot, so what better time than the present for Kipling to stage a comeback? Kipling is kicking off its Asia relaunch with a limited edition collection of carry-ons monogrammed with its signature monkey motif. Equal parts functional and cute, it's exactly how we like our backpacks to be. 3. Swarovski Kiki the Monkey crystal While we wouldn't tell you to dress your walls up with pictures of monkeys, there's no reason why you shouldn't add this little cutie to your glass cabinet of collectibles. Look at it, how can you resist this face? 4. H&M Chinese New Year 2016 collection Swedish fast fashion brand H&M has hit a home run with this monkey-inspired collection that's available for women, men and children. Combining our love for emojis and mischievous chimps, you especially woulodn't want to miss out on the women's sweater and jogger pants set that's covered in "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" monkey prints. 5. Cath Kidston Asia-exclusive monkey print Known for its kitsch bird prints, English accessories brand Cath Kidston has added a new animal to its reserve with an Asia-exclusive monkey print. Paired with florals and set against a vibrant red background, your hardest choice would be having to pick just one from the array of purses, handbags and pencil cases. 6. Xbox Lunar New Year Xbox One art series We bet you won't be able to go back to playing games off your typical black game console after you've seen these one-of-a-kind monkey-inspired Xbox Ones. Designed by emerging artists from China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, there are a total of eight consoles in this series, all of which make for eye-catching centrepieces. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. Read more

Yahoo to cut 15 pct jobs, close several units - WSJ

Yahoo Inc Chief Executive Marissa Mayer is set to reveal cost-cutting plans that include slashing 15 percent of the company's workforce, or roughly 1,600 jobs, and closing several business units, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.The plans are expected to be announced after Yahoo's fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. (on.wsj.com/1Tx30jF) It did not specify which business units might be closed. A Yahoo spokeswoman said the company could not comment during its quiet period before releasing earnings. Activist investors have pressed Yahoo to sell its core business rather than spin it off, even though a sale would likely incur more taxes.It is unclear whether the plan Mayer is expected to announce would satisfy their demands, but cutting costs could make Yahoo more attractive to buyers.Verizon has said it is interested in acquiring Yahoo if it were up for sale. Other potential buyers would include media and private equity firms, analysts said. Yahoo had about 11,000 employees as of June 30, according to its website, down from a Dec. 31, 2014 total of about 12,500 full-time employees and what it called fixed term contractors.(bit.ly/1P0L4uC)Separately, a former Yahoo employee filed a lawsuit against the company Monday challenging its "quarterly performance review" process, on grounds it assigned numerical ratings to workers that in some cases were used to fire those at the bottom of the scale.The lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Jose, California, said the plaintiff was terminated in 2014, despite being previously praised, as a result of the QPR process. The filing said Yahoo's use of the QPR process to terminate large numbers of employees violates federal and California laws that require employers to disclose mass layoffs above a certain threshold.The New York Times previously reported on the lawsuit. Yahoo has struggled to expand its Internet business, which includes selling search and display ads on its news and sports sites and email service, in the face of competition from Alphabet Inc's Google unit and Facebook Inc.Yahoo's shares fell 1.2 percent to $29.14 in afternoon trading on Monday. As of Friday's close, the stock had lost about a third of its value over the year. (Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bengaluru, Deborah M. Todd in San Francisco and Michael Flaherty in New York; Editing by Stephen R. Trousdale, Richard Chang and Andrew Hay) Read more

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