is mounting a resurgence with its newly released BlackBerry 10 OS and accompanying smartphones, the release apparently didn’t happen soon enough for Home Depot. According to Apple Insider, the home improvement retailer is replacing its fleet of BlackBerry phones with iPhones.
All told, that’s going to be about 10,000 iPhone
handsets spread out over the company’s field operations personnel, store managers, district managers, and other corporate-level employees. (There are another 60,000 or so employees that will continue to use less expensive Motorola devices--at least for now.)
The loss of 10,000 customers in one fell swoop doesn’t by any means spell doom for BlackBerry, but it’s also not a great sign. Further, Home Depot is one of the world’s largest employers, and the fact that it’s looking elsewhere for its corporate-wide smartphones doesn’t speak well of BlackBerry’s corporate future.
The report noted that Home Depot’s move toward iPhones isn’t unique, as fairly recently the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (17,600 employees), the NTSB, and Australia’s Treasury Department did the same.
Still, the demand for the iPhone is not what it once was--not necessarily in terms of the number of handsets sold, but the type of person who’s interested in them. Time was, the iPhone was the must-have gadget, signalling that you were equal parts young, hip, and tech-savvy. Now, older users (35 and up) are more likely to have an iPhone than with-it 20-somethings.
At the same time, BlackBerry 10 looks like a compelling platform, and the handsets offer some attractive features. Who knows, maybe in a year all the young folks will be packing BlackBerrys. (If nothing else, hipsters might be really into them, ironically, as symbols of past corporate dominance.)