New Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) CEO Marissa Mayer wants her troops to keep a steady finger on the American consumer's pulse. To that end, she's equipping every Yahoo! worker with brand-new smartphones. And therein lies a yarn.
Early reports said the new phones would be Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) iPhones, despite Mayer's long history at Android parent Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) . Then we were told that certain Android models would be covered, too. Fair enough.
But today, the plot thickens. Business Insider just got its hands on an internal Yahoo! memo that describes the new smartphone policy in greater detail, and the final list of approved phones speaks volumes.
"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's memo says. So the company will buy and then pay the monthly bills for one of the following five models: the Apple iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, HTC Evo 4G LTE, or Nokia (NYSE: NOK ) Lumia 920.
These are flagship handsets from every smartphone brand under the sun, including three Androids and a Windows-based Nokia phone. Missing from the list? Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM ) . And the cut against the Canadian BlackBerry maker goes even deeper: "As of today, Yahoo is moving off of blackberries as our corporate phones and on to smartphones in 22 countries."
Ouch. Mayer is saying that she did her research to identify the phones people actually use, and BlackBerry just ain't it anymore.
That attitude might change when RIM introduces its BlackBerry 10 platform in 2013, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it. The BlackBerry had its moment in the sun, but it looks more and more irrelevant with every passing day. Yahoo!'s smartphone policy only underscores that trend.
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