We knew there would be companies that would watch BlackBerry’s (RIM) debut of BlackBerry 10 before deciding their future with the Canadian smartphone maker. While many industry critics have praised BlackBerry’s new OS, almost all of them have said basically the same thing: “While it’s a massive leap forward from its predecessor, the new BlackBerry 10 doesn’t offer anything that users can’t already get on competing platforms, platforms that offer more apps, more devices and richer ecosystems.”
That being said, it looks like Home Depot—the world’s fifth largest retailer—has picked it’s side and has decided to dump BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone. Home Depot provides corporate cellphones to employees who are store managers and above (i.e. corporate employees, district managers and so on), floor employees (those that work for the store managers) will not be affected by the change, as they will continue to use rugged smartphones made by Motorola.
This news comes as a big blow to BlackBerry, as even CEO Thorsten Heins has admitted, they [BlackBerry] need to focus on retaining their current customer base. Home Depot’s switch to Apple’s iPhone will cost BlackBerry about 100,000 devices once all is said and done, plus all the addition fees and costs associated with BES and other BlackBerry services. Industry analysts have even said that while the new OS and devices look to be on par with the iPhone and some top Android devices, the Canadian company was going to have a hard time pulling in customers from competing platforms and its best chance for success, would be to persuade current BlackBerry customers to upgrade to the new hardware, something Home Depot was apparently not willing to do.
As a result, BlackBerry’s stock, which had been slowly climbing over the past few months, took a bit of a nose dive (down 4.5%) as a result. Now that BB10 and BlackBerry’s new hardware have been revealed, we’re going to see more and more companies having to make the difficult decision in the coming weeks, do they upgrade to BlackBerry 10 or make the shift to Apple’s iPhone or Google’s Android (or in some cases, both). No matter how you look at it, having the world’s fifth largest retailer drop you like a bad habit (especially after you’ve just revealed an overhauled OS design) isn’t a good sign of things to come.
Hopefully for BlackBerry’s sake, other large companies don’t feel the same way.