Yahoo CEO: Have a smartphone on us, but no BlackBerrys

Yahoo CEO: Have a smartphone on us, but no BlackBerrys

Summary: Yahoo has said it will buy its employees any smartphone they want, but snubbed the ill-fated BlackBerry, which CEO Marissa Mayer hinted in an email that it was no longer a "smartphone."


Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer has emailed her 12,000 employees offering to buy each and every worker a free smartphone, but there's one catch: it can't be a BlackBerry. 

In a memo obtained by Business Insider, the note debuts the "Smart Phones, Smart Fun!" initiative at the former Web giant that will cost the firm likely millions of dollars, but will benefit end Yahoo users by putting the most common devices in the hands of employees to test products with; a process commonly known as "dog-fooding."

"Ideally, we'd like our employees to have devices similar to our users, so we can think and work as the majority of our users do," Mayer writes in the memo. 

The phones on offer include an Apple iPhone 5; a bevy of Android phones: Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, and the HTC EVO 4G LTE; and the Nokia Lumia 920. 

The snub for the Canada-based Research in Motion comes in the second line, where Mayer says: "Yahoo is moving off of Blackberries [sic] as our corporate phones and on to smartphones in 22 countries," hinting that the BlackBerry maker's phones are no longer considered "smartphone" compared to its rivals.

Yahoo's move to leave BlackBerrys off the list will likey not please RIM executives or raise morale at RIM headquarters. Crucially, the 'smartphones' were left off the list because their market penetration remains dangerously low compared to rivals, such as Apple, Samsung, and even ailing phone company Nokia, and the firm wants its employees to use the same phones as its customers. 

RIM currently has around 80 million users around the world and only a fraction of that on enterprise contracts that churn over the most reliable and stable source of revenue for the company. The BlackBerry maker will offer new BlackBerry 10 devices in the first-quarter 2013, but analysts have warned that the company may not last out that long as it burns through its cash reserves.

We've reached out to Yahoo for comment, but didn't hear back outside U.S. business hours.

Topics: BlackBerry, Mobile OS, Mobility, Tech Industry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Free for all

    "... buy each and every worker a free smartphone"

    Not to be outdone, I hereby offer to buy everyone here a free smartphone. Heck, it can even be a Blackberry. You just have to get it for free.
    Robert Hahn
  • Nokia Lumia 920

    So, workers can’t actually expect to get one this year, then.
    • Which Calendar Are You On?

      In the U.S., at least, November 2012 is part of this year. The Jewish calendar just started, so I think you'd be good. Not sure about the Chinese calendar...
  • Thats gonna cost a fortune!

    What if all ask for the most expensive model (don't know which)? If I were a stockholder I'd dump all my Yahoo stock. It's not only the acquisition cost... what'll happen later when the phones need maintenance...
    • This is a great investment.

      Yahoo is woefully behind the mobile curve. They ate clueless in this area. It is time for all of Yahoo to start dog-fooding their services mobile style. Only then can they start to fix things.

      BTW: bet the CEO goes for the iPhone 5.
      • She might not...

        ...unless she wants to get lost
  • BB10

    If BB is really on the path to failure, the BB10 may actually be a phone to purchase as a collectors. Especially if it's a great phone functionality wise. it should prove to be hackable due to it's Linux (Andrioid) DNA and that's a plus in this case.