updated 11:00 pm EST, Fri November 15, 2013
Company has 90,000 employees, most currently on BlackBerry
Like many federal agencies and other large businesses, Pfizer - one of the world's largest pharmaceutical manufacturers with unprecedented influence in the healthcare industry - has asked its employees to transition away from BlackBerry phones and towards their choice of iOS or Android products instead. The company, in a memo announcing the change, said the transition was due to BlackBerry's "volatile state" and advised employees to make the change as soon as contracts allow.
Pfizer is said to still have a "huge" percentage of its 90,000 workers using BlackBerry, such as travelling medical representatives who visit doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers to appraise them of the latest Pfizer products and services. The Canada-based BlackBerry has been shedding both individual users and institutional buyers since shortly after the arrival of the iPhone in 2007, and is now considered a minor player where it was once the top selling business-oriented brand of smartphone.
The company has resisted being broken up into pieces, but interest from other buyers has mostly centered on the company's patent portfolio rather than its products or 70-million-strong worldwide customer base. It recently rejected a takeover bid from Fairfax Capital after the latter could not secure funding, and was blocked from accepting a buyout offer from Chinese firm Lenovo. It is currently surviving on $1 billion in funding from investors, but at present has no clear plan to return to viability. Apple and Intel (among others) have been actively recruiting BlackBerry workers near the company's Ontario headquarters.