Shortly after Marissa Mayer became CEO of Yahoo in 2012, she instituted a new smartphone policy for employees.
In his book on Yahoo and Mayer’s tenure as CEO there, Nicholas Carlson writes that Yahoo employees were still issued BlackBerrys instead of modern smartphones like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S3.
Mayer believed Yahoo needed to transition into a “mobile-first” company, and its employees should be using the popular devices apps were designed to run on.
Here’s how Mayer broke the news to Yahoo employees at an all-hands meeting in September 2012:
We want to make sure that everyone here can experience smartphones. So we are saying goodbye to the BlackBerry. We’re not issuing any more BlackBerrys.
Instead, Yahoo employees were able to pick from an iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3, Nokia Lumia 920, HTC One X, or HTC Evo 4G LTE, which were all very popular phones on their respective platforms at the time. BlackBerrys were dead.
The move demonstrates BlackBerry’s increasing irrelevance at the time, even at big corporations like Yahoo. Today, BlackBerry has about 0.5% of the global smartphone market, which is why developers like those at Yahoo largely ignore the platform. Most developers focus on Android and iPhone because that’s where the most users are.
It was also particularly damning for BlackBerry that a well-respected tech executive like Mayer didn’t even consider the BlackBerry to be a smartphone.
Want more great stories about Yahoo and Marissa Mayer? You can buy Carlson’s book “Marissa Mayer And The Fight To Save Yahoo” on Amazon right here.
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