A blow for BlackBerry

It constantly ranks among the top 100 companies to work for in polls – and Yahoo could be about to get even more popular with its workforce.

According to a leaked memo, Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer has promised all her employees one of Apple’s new iPhone 5’s. Or, if they prefer, they can choose a new Samsung, Nokia or HTC smartphone.

The move is sure to win 37-year-old Mayer, who was appointed president and CEO of Yahoo in July, even more fans. Mayer, the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company, has already implemented free lunches for employees at the company’s café in a bid to boost morale.

Called Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun!, the programme will also pay its employees’ data and phone bills.

But while workers will clearly be delighted with the decision, it comes at the detriment of the already struggling Research in Motion-owned BlackBerry.

Yahoo is now discontinuing the use of BlackBerry phones as its corporate phones.

In March, BlackBerry announced that it was focusing on the business market to shore up its falling revenue.

After announcing disappointing quarterly results, its chief executive Thorsten Heins said: “We plan to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalize on our leading position in this segment.”

He said there was no point in trying to be “everybody’s darling” and “all things to all people”, so Blackberry planned to build on its business strength.

But even its share of the business market has been falling as employees demand iPhones or Android devices over BlackBerrys.

RIM now sells less than one eighth of the number of phones that run Google’s Android operating system. And, both its workforce numbers and its share prices are falling. Once RIM’s shares traded at more than $140 and it employed nearly 20,000 people. Now, you can pick up a RIM share for just $7.25 and it is cutting staff numbers by 9,000.

So, Yahoo’s decision could not possibly come at a worse time.

Those working for Yahoo will now have a choice of either the iPhone 5, Samsung’s Galaxy S3, HTC’s One X, the HTC EVO 4G LTE, or Nokia’s Lumia 920. All the choices being offered are the very latest released by each company.

While the programme will cost Yahoo millions of dollars, Mayer hopes it is worth it not only to have a happy workforce, but to help her staff get into the mindset of Yahoo users. The idea is employees use the phone that Yahoo’s users use.

Mayer’s memo describes her decision as an “exciting update”. It goes on to say: “We are announcing Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun! As of today, Yahoo is moving off of BlackBerries as our corporate phones and on to smartphones in 22 countries.”

It says the decision has been taken after looking into smartphone penetration rates across the globe, adding: “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.”

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