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Home Depot iPhone switch short-circuits BlackBerry stock

Nationwide retailer decides it's time to make the move to Apple, a decision which will affect 10,000 employees who will have to turn in their BlackBerry devices.

BlackBerry's Q10 smartphone.
BlackBerry's Q10 smartphone. Sarah Tew/CNET
Shares of BlackBerry dropped 4.6 percent today after Home Depot confirmed a report by AppleInsider that the company is handing out iPhones to about 10,000 employees who were using the BlackBerry. A spokesman for the home improvement retailer did not offer more detail about when the replacement process began, other than to acknowledge that Home Depot was "replacing the current base of BlackBerry technology with iPhone, but these are not the mobile devices used in our stores."

The decision hardly constitutes make-or-break news for BlackBerry, but it comes only a week after the company introduced a couple of new devices that management hopes will help revive the flagging franchise. The full touchscreen Z10 smartphone has already gone on sale in some regions globally -- BlackBerry said that it registered strong early sales in Canada and the United Kingdom -- while sales in the U.S. will start in March.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which last year had said it would dump BlackBerry in favor of the iPhone, has since announced plans to run a pilot program for the new BB10 devices.