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BlackBerry to lay off 4,500 staff, expects nearly $1 billion loss

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BlackBerry plans to lay off approximately 4,500 employees, it announced today, predicting a net operating loss of approximately $950 million to $995 million for second quarter fiscal 2014.

BlackBerry largely attributes the predicted loss to the performance of its BlackBerry Z10 smartphone. The BlackBerry 10-operated device launched in Europe in January and the U.S. in March. The 40 percent in reduction of its 7,000-strong team of full-time global employees is due to the company's target of an approximate 50 percent reduction in operating expenditures by the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2015.

BlackBerry also plans to shrink its future smartphone lineup from six devices to four, focusing on enterprise and consumer targeted devices. The lineup will including two high-end devices and two entry-level devices in touchscreen and physical keyboard models.

Last month, BlackBerry's team leader of its games division, Sean Paul Taylor, announced gamepad controller support for BlackBerry 10 devices. In an interview with Polygon, he discussed BlackBerry's push to encourage more developers to make games for the device with gamepad functionality.

The Unity Engine launched on Blackberry 10 smartphones and the BlackBerry PlayBook when it received the BlackBerry 10 OS update earlier this year. Prior to that, GameLoft revealed in February that it will optimize its popular mobile titles for Blackberry 10, such as: UNO, N.O.V.A 3: Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance, Oregon Trail American Settler, The Amazing Spider-Man, Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour and The Dark Knight Rises.