Feature Article

February 11, 2013

Home Depot's Decision to Discard BlackBerry Phones Causes Shares to Drop

Home Depot has decided that it will no longer be issuing BlackBerry phones to its corporate employees and managers. The home improvement store will be replacing around 10,000 BlackBerry devices with Apple phones.

“We are replacing our current base of BlackBerry technology with iPhones,” a Home Depot representative said when asked about the issue.

This might be considered sort of a one-two punch to BlackBerry. The Apple iPhone 4S is an older model and yet it still beat out the new BlackBerry Z10. The change has already started with the iPhone 4S being put in the hands of store managers and others at the corporate level.

Stephen Holmes, a spokesman for Atlanta-based Home Depot, said the change won’t affect the 60,000 mobile devices used by store employees. iPhones won’t be replacing the company’s 60,000 rugged Motorola ‘First Phone’ and ‘First Phone Jrs’.

The phones are Windows Mobile sporting devices and they are used for inventory, as well as standard phone use. Home Depot gives almost all floor employees the Motorola phones.

Home Depot’s decision should come as a pretty big blow to BlackBerry, who has lost a lot of ground to iPhone and Android devices as it is. The Z10 is BlackBerry’s comeback attempt, an endeavor to try and regain real estate in an admittedly challenging market.

Shares of BlackBerry fell to $15.47 at 9:58 a.m. in New York trading. The stock had climbed 39 percent this year before today, fueled by optimism that the new BlackBerry 10 operating system will be a hit.

On launch day on January 30, BlackBerry did not provide a firm U.S. release date, and only stated that the Z10 would be available sometime in March this year. Not surprisingly, this raised concern among investors, who drove down BlackBerry’s stock 17 percent on Thursday and Friday two weeks ago.

The stock edged up to $18.32 prior to the launch.

This has to be a disappointment to BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins, who had hoped the new BlackBerry 10 OS and the Z10 would allow it to keep most of its current enterprise business, while at the same time win new contracts.

Home Depot has not released any information as to why they are dropping the BlackBerry platform, though it sounds like Home Depot just doesn’t have enough faith or confidence in the Z10.

Unfortunately, this did lead to a 6.2-percent drop in BlackBerry shares in New York this morning.

Edited by Braden Becker

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