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Yahoo! is giving its staff free smartphones… but not BlackBerrys

So you thought Microsoft was the place to work if you wanted free gadgets? It seems there might be a second option: Yahoo!. According to Business Insider, the search engine’s new CEO Marissa Mayer sent round an internal memo late last week to inform her employees that they could have their pick of a new Apple, HTC, Nokia or Samsung smartphone — but not a BlackBerry.

Yahoo! isn’t giving its staff middle-of-the-range tech either. They’re being given the choice of an:

  • Apple iPhone 5
  • Samsung Galaxy S III
  • HTC One X
  • Nokia Lumia 920

Yes, Yahoo! employees can apparently put in a request for the latest iPhone and Nokia’s newest Lumia — which haven’t even been released yet. The company will also pay for its employees’ data and phone costs as part of its new “Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun!” programme.

In addition to not including one of Research in Motion’s devices on the approved list, Yahoo! is apparently discontinuing IT support for BlackBerry. Reading Mayer’s email, it appears that she doesn’t even seem to think Research in Motion’s devices are ‘smartphones':

As of today, Yahoo is moving off of blackberries as our corporate phones and on to smartphones in 22 countries. A few weeks ago, we said that we would look into smartphone penetration rates globally and take those rates into account when deciding on corporate phones. 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.

The choice of high-end phones is interesting — are the “majority” of Yahoo! users really owners of top-of-the-range iPhones, Galaxy S IIIs and HTC One Xs? And yes, Android and iOS are two of the top smartphone operating systems worldwide (approximately 85% of smartphones are either running Android or iOS), but Windows Phone is hardly responsible for a fat chunk of the market, although the Nokia’s previous Lumias have helped drive the platform’s growth recently. Perhaps Yahoo! is trying to arm its employees with the phones of the future — one in which they don’t see many BlackBerrys?

Author | Lauren Granger

Lauren Granger
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping tech sites and Twitter than she was in picking up one of those printed things called 'newspapers', she decided to specialise in... More