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RIM Offers Free Apps, Tech Support to Customers
RIM Offers Free Apps, Tech Support to Customers

By Barry Levine
October 17, 2011 10:23AM

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Analyst Laura DiDio said the free BlackBerry apps were "a nice goodwill gesture," but added that "a lot of people who suffered through this outage might be tempted to say, 'too little, too late,' since $100 of free apps don't compensate" for the problems with RIM's BlackBerry network. And, she asked, "How often does one actually use Tech Support?"
 

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A hundred dollars in free premium apps. That's what Research In Motion is offering to its subscribers "as an expression of appreciation for their patience during the recent service disruptions." In addition, enterprise customers will receive one month of free Technical Support.

The apps, which will be made available via BlackBerry App World until the end of this year, are SIM3, Bejeweled, N.O.V.A., Texas Hold'em Poker 2, Bubble Bash 2, Photo Editor Ultimate, Drive Safe.ly Pro and Enterprise, iSpeech Translator Pro, Nobex Radio, Shazam Encore and Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant.

Too Little, Too Late?

In a statement, RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said the company had "worked hard to earn the trust" of its more than 70 million customers and would "work tirelessly to restore their confidence." He added that RIM was "taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again."

Last week, customers in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa experienced three days of service interruptions. In Latin America and Canada, it was a day-and-a-half, and in the U.S., it was one day. The company said that, following round-the-clock work by global teams, service levels were restored to normal on Thursday.

Laura DiDio, an analyst with Information Technology Intelligence, noted that the free apps were "a nice goodwill gesture," but added that "a lot of people who suffered through this outage might be tempted to say, 'too little, too late,' since $100 of free apps don't compensate" for the problems. And, she asked, "How often does one actually use Tech Support?"

'Not Even Close'

DiDio said that the outage only adds to RIM's problems, and that "it will be very, very difficult for them to recover not just from the outage, but from the withering competition" of Apple, Google's Android, and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7. She reported some speculation that the company could have to spend at least $100 million worldwide in credits for lost service, and "that doesn't even include any liability losses."

On Thursday, Lazaridis gave a company apology via a video message on RIM's Web site. He said that RIM's goal had been to "provide reliable, real-time communication" worldwide. "We did not deliver on that goal this week," he said. "Not even close."

On Tuesday, RIM said the cause was a core switch failure in its network. In a statement, the company said that, "although the system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested." The result, the company said, was that "a large backlog of data was generated, and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service as quickly as possible."

The outage came at a difficult time for the company. The Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM, once a dominant player in mobile phones for businesses, has seen its position in business and consumer markets steadily erode in the face of competition from Apple and Google's Android.
 

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