Yahoo! Delivers Another Black Eye to RIM

In a clear sign of the times, Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) is promising to give its employees a new smartphone. There is a wide variety of options, but Research in Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) Blackberry failed to make the cut.

Marissa Mayer, the new chief executive officer at Yahoo, recently sent an email to all full-time and part-time employees in the United States announcing the update, according to Business Insider. The program is being called “Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun!” It enables employees to choose from the following models: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5, Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 920 with Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8, Android’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X or HTC EVO 4G LTE. Yahoo will also cover the monthly plan for the data and phone. The program is being implemented right away and Yahoo is currently taking orders from its employees.

Yahoo explains in a memo, “We have a very exciting update to share with you today- we are announcing Yahoo! Smart Phones, Smart Fun!  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.”

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The news is the latest black eye for Research in Motion. The once highly successful company in the smartphone space has been losing market share for years. According to an 11-month study by Chitika, RIM’s smartphones and PlayBook tablet account for just over 1 percent of all mobile usage in the United States. Last week, Pacific Crest analyst James Faucette told AllThingsD that the BlackBerry line is not receiving the same shelf space that it used to.

He explains, “In terms of sell-through, we believe that current run rates are roughly one-fifth of those we saw in the United States just eight months ago. Further, we found a meaningful number of carrier retail locations which had not sold a single BlackBerry in over a month.”

As the chart above shows, the three major carriers have hardly missed the BlackBerry. Thanks to Samsung and Apple, Verizon (NYSE:VZ), AT&T (NYSE:T) and Sprint (NYSE:S) all have strong returns over the past year.

On Friday, AT&T announced it set a sales record with the iPhone 5. Consumers ordered the new unit more than any previous iPhone model on the first day of pre-orders. Although the company did not disclose figures, Apple announced it sold more than 2 million units over the first 24 hours of pre-orders. In comparison, the iPhone 5 pre-order sales are more than twice as much as last year’s iPhone 4S first-day sales. Philip Schiller, head of Apple’s marketing, explains, “iPhone 5 pre-orders have shattered the previous record held by iPhone 4S and the customer response to iPhone 5 has been phenomenal.”

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