Pfizer takes steps to protect itself from BlackBerry's woes

BlackBerry ($BBRY) phones are a defining tech of the first decade of the 21st Century, a time when suited Big Pharma execs used the devices to facilitate multi-billion dollar takeovers. At Pfizer ($PFE), the mega-merger era it helped create is over, and now its relationship with BlackBerry is coming to a close, too.

Pfizer employees currently use a mix of Apple ($AAPL) iPhones, handsets running Google's ($GOOG) Android and BlackBerry devices, but BlackBerry devices are now being phased out. While BlackBerry phones were once cherished by companies for their security and business services, employees' heads were turned by the iPhone. When BlackBerry use in the U.S. peaked in 2010, it held 37% of the smartphone market, but since then, it has fallen fast. Pfizer is concerned about the effect this will have on service. 

"In response to declining sales, [BlackBerry] is in a volatile state. We recommend that BlackBerry clients use their BlackBerry devices and plan to migrate to a new device at normal contract expiration," Pfizer wrote in a memo to employees seen by Bloomberg. The memo details contingency plans Pfizer has put in place in case BlackBerry shuts down or its service is disrupted. This month, a $4.7 billion takeover bid was dropped, prompting BlackBerry to replace its CEO and once again start trying to rebuild the business.

The new CEO, John Chen, has a track record that fits BlackBerry's needs. Chen brought database business Sybase back from the brink, in part by convincing customers the company had a future. As interim CEO of BlackBerry, Chen faces a similar task to stop the likes of Pfizer abandoning what they perceive to be a sinking ship.

- read Bloomberg's article
- here's FiercePharma's take

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