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Canada hopes BlackBerry can make it on its own: minister

BlackeBerry users look at a new mobile device at the BlackBerry Annual and Special Meeting in Waterloo, Ontario July 9, 2013. REUTERS/Jon Bl
BlackeBerry users look at a new mobile device at the BlackBerry Annual and Special Meeting in Waterloo, Ontario July 9, 2013. REUTERS/Jon Bl

By Solarina Ho

OAKVILLE, Ontario (Reuters) - The Canadian government hopes BlackBerry Ltd will be able to make it on its own, Industry Minister James Moore said on Thursday.

His remarks come amid a backdrop of dwindling market share for the once-successful Canadian company, plans for a possible sale of the company and a recent report that it may shed a sizable number of its staff.

In Canada's federal registry of lobbyists, BlackBerry recorded several communications last month with officials from Moore's department, as well as from Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office.

"Through my department, they met with officials, and I think they explored a number of the questions that were on the horizon, but I think the issues that BlackBerry was approaching us with a month ago (were) very different than the news that came out (Wednesday)," Moore told reporters in Oakville, Ontario.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the company could cut up to 40 percent of its staff by the end of the year.

Once a dominant player in the corporate smartphone arena, BlackBerry has struggled in recent years to staunch a loss of market share to companies such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

"I want BlackBerry to do well. I want BlackBerry to grow and to continue to employ Canadians to continue to innovate and be a challenger to the Android and iOS platforms and Windows platforms and to create a good product that's doing well."

Asked about possible government help for BlackBerry, he said: "Frankly I haven't been asked personally in that regard, but we're hopeful that they'll be able to make it on their own."

(Writing by Randall Palmer; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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