Feature Article

September 17, 2012

Another BlackBerry Tragedy: Yahoo's CEO Gives its Workforce iPhones - Lost in the Shuffle is BlackBerry, which Yahoo had Long Issued to its Employees

It was an interesting memo that was leaked to the outside world on Friday – or at least leaked to someone at Business Insider on Friday. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, the ex-Google-ite who has spent a lot of time showering nice perks on Yahoo’s employees (while also sitting in wait for the arrival, in very short order of many billions of dollars from Alibaba, so perhaps the new perks are more than reasonable), has yet again extended her kind hand.

This time around Mayer has decided to give the company’s employees – its entire full time and part time workforce - a new iPhone 5…or a Galaxy S III, Lumia 920, an HTC One X, or an HTC EVO 4G LTE.

Dubbed the "Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun!" program, Mayer’s reasoning for the “gift” is? Well, Mayer has concluded that in order for Yahoo to better serve its customers Yahoo’s employees should be using the very same smartphones that Yahoo’s customers are most likely to be carrying around. In truth it’s a perfectly cogent plan, and one we can hardly find any fault with. The deal for Yahoo’s employees is even better than the hardware – Yahoo will also cover all voice and data charges. In a sense it upturns BYOD, with Yahoo now offering a “Pick Your Own Device as long as it is one of the ones we’ve decided to offer you” program.

Yahoo is certainly large enough from an employee perspective that it can serve as a very interesting microcosm for smartphone preferences. Will we perhaps see some unusual surprises emerge? Will the Lumia 920 suddenly find itself the darling the of the Yahoo crowd? Will the HTC phones survive with some respectable numbers or will they be routed? Will Samsung’s Galaxy S III take the crown in terms of most preferred smartphone? This opportunity for Samsung to demonstrate a clear victory over Apple is a rare one in that it pits the two head to head with their best efforts. No one will mistake the Galaxy S III for an iPhone 5 – we can rest assured of that.

Our prediction? Apple will win the battle and it won’t be close – the new iPhone is simply too refined to lose out to Samsung. And we would not be surprised if the Lumia 920 were to ultimately come in second. The only problem with the Lumia 920 is availability – no one wants to wait!

What about BlackBerry?

This is perhaps the sad part of such an uplifting story. In great part, Mayer’s decision to move the Yahoo workforce to iPhones or the others noted also specifically means that Yahoo will cease to be a BlackBerry shop. Yes, Yahoo had standardized on BlackBerry and BlackBerry devices were the prevalent smartphones inside of Yahoo. No longer. Perhaps Mayer simply needed a way to justify carting around an Android device – it wouldn’t be right to sport a hot new Android smartphone amidst corporate handouts of BlackBerry hardware to the rest of the workforce.

Adding insult to certain injury, Yahoo will not even include BlackBerry devices as a choice for employees. We wonder how those Yahoos that are perhaps in love with their BlackBerry toys will feel about it.

So once again, rest in peace BlackBerry.

Want to learn more about today’s powerful mobile Internet ecosystem? Don't miss the Mobility Tech Conference & Expo, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct. 2-5 2012, in Austin, TX.  Stay in touch with everything happening at Mobility Tech Conference & Expo. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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