Saturday, 28 September 2013

Google's Motorola eyes BlackBerry employees

TORONTO: With Blackberry shedding staff in its hometown of Waterloo, Ontario, other tech companies, including Google's Motorola Mobility unit, are moving to take advantage of a growing pool of local talent.

Motorola Mobility said it plans to set up a new hub in Waterloo, located about an hour's drive west of Toronto.

"We have a small space right now and we're looking to grow considerably," said Derek Phillips, engineering director for Motorola Canada.

He declined to specify the number of new hires expected, but said the company was seeking computer science and engineering talent.

Google acquired Motorola Mobility last year in a $12.5 billion deal that gave it ownership of a large portfolio of communications patents. It has since moved to revamp the company's money-losing mobile phone business.

Google separately has its existing Canadian development headquarters in Waterloo, which boasts an in-office slide.

The company is one of hundreds of tech players with a presence the city, attracted in part by graduates of the University of Waterloo's highly ranked computer science, engineering and technology programs.

The vast majority of local technology companies are small startups looking to make a splash such as the one BlackBerry, then called Research in Motion, made after it pioneered pocket email in the 1990s.

But times have changed for BlackBerry, which said on Friday that it would cut about 4,500 workers, more than a third of its global workforce, and post a quarterly loss of nearly $1 billion.

The job cuts are expected to strike a blow to the city and regional economy, given the knock-on-effect on retailers, the property market and local service providers.

The latest layoffs follow other cuts over the past three years as Blackberry bled market share to competitors such as Apple Inc and phones that use Google's Android operating system.

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