Pfizer’s Prescription for BlackBerry-Using Employees: iPhone and Android

Published on November 15, 2013
by John Paczkowski

BlackBerry_descent_into_maelstromInterim CEO John Chen said BlackBerry isn’t dwelling on the past, but looking to the future. Unfortunately for the languishing smartphone maker, some of its big clients are doing the same. And the future they see is one in which BlackBerry doesn’t figure quite so prominently.

Some big clients, like the U.S. Defense Department, are developing mobile-device contingency plans to implement should BlackBerry finally, irrevocably, collapse. Others, like Pfizer, are responding to the uncertainty around the company’s business by beginning to phase out its devices entirely.

In a recent memo to employees, Pfizer — one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies — told its BlackBerry users to switch to an iPhone or Android handset when their wireless contract next permits an upgrade. The rationale? BlackBerry’s “volatile state.”

“We simply recommended to colleagues who have BlackBerrys that they use their BlackBerry devices and … migrate to a new device at the normal contract expiration,” Pfizer spokeswoman Joan Campion told AllThingsD.

So, a planned discontinuation, and a big one. Pfizer employs some 90,000 people, and sources said its BlackBerry deployment is “sizable … huge.” The decision to distance itself from BlackBerry is a nasty blow for the struggling smartphone maker, whose handsets were once the de facto choice for enterprise.

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