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State and Nation Business

BlackBerry to lay off 4,500 employees

TORONTO – BlackBerry says it will lay off 4,500 employees, or 40 percent of its global workforce, as it reports a nearly $1 billion second-quarter loss in a surprise early release of earnings results.

The stock dropped 19 percent to $8.50 after reopening for trading. Shares had been halted pending the news.

BlackBerry had been scheduled to release earnings next week. But the Canadian company said late Friday afternoon it expects a loss of about $950 million to $995 million for the quarter, including a massive inventory charge due to increasing market competition.

The BlackBerry, pioneered in 1999, was the dominant smartphone for on-the-go businesspeople and other customers before Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007. Since then, BlackBerry Ltd. has been hammered by competition from the iPhone, as well as Android-based rivals such as Samsung.

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