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BlackBerry is closing its Swedish operations in favor of Israeli ones

Shortly after announcing that it was expanding its operations in Israel through the acquisition of WatchDox, BlackBerry announced that it will also be shrinking its operations in Sweden. The company began its software design operations in the country after it acquired a startup known as The Astonishing Tribe back in 2010, but now it looks like that’s all coming to an end now as the company focuses on other areas. 

Earlier this week smartphone maker BlackBerry confirmed it acquired Israel’s WatchDox to build out its security software business, but it looks like it may be downsizing elsewhere. According to reports from Swedish news sites, BlackBerry is closing down its software design operations in Sweden — a business that grew out of its acquisition of UI startup The Astonishing Tribe in 2010. One report from Swedish site 8till5 notes layoffs of 100 in Malmo; other reports from news site Rapidus and financial newspaper Svenska Dagbladet says it will be letting go just over 150 employees: 93 in Malmö and 60 in Gothenburg. Numerous BlackBerry spokespeople that we have tried to contact to confirm the details have not responded to our requests for comment. When reached by phone, a switchboard operator in BlackBerry’s Swedish office in Malmö told TechCrunch that she was instructed not to comment on the report. Rapidus and SvD both quote Hans Björkqvist, a regional manager for the Swedish trade union Unionen, confirming that Blackberry is now in negotiations over closing operations. Assuming the numbers are accurate, it’s not clear what operations will be affected, and where that work will shift.

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