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Home Depot pulls out of newly-named RIM, gets in bed with Apple

10,000 devices, another big drop in a growing ocean

Home Depot is the latest US company to drop BlackBerry, handing out 10,000 iPhones to executives and other management staff and wiping out 3 per cent of BlackBerry's share price in the process.

News of the decision left BlackBerry shares down, but it remains unclear if Home Depot made its decision before or after the launch of the Z10. That's critical because BlackBerry - formerly known as RIM - is pinning everything on the new handset - and if that's not enough to restore faith in the brand then nothing will be. Talking to Reuters, Home Depot confirmed that it was replacing the BlackBerrys, but wouldn't say when the critical decision had been made, or even when the replacement programme had begun.

If Home Depot had been waiting to see the new hardware, and had decided to switch following the 30 January launch then that would be damning indeed, but if it was already in the process then it's less worrying, though still bad news for BlackBerry.

Ten thousand devices sounds like a lot, but it's a drop in the ocean... but it follows a lot of other drops into what's becoming an unstoppable flood. BlackBerry hasn't much time left to get some market share. It is still the third mobile ecosystem by a good margin but needs to get some wins of a similar size to Home Depot if it's going to turn around the decline. ®

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