Free apps as BlackBerry outage compensation; Too little, too late?

Free apps as BlackBerry outage compensation; Too little, too late?

Summary: Can the BlackBerry maker regain end-user confidence by dishing out free apps as compensation for the four-day outage?

SHARE:

BlackBerrys were once the forefront of the student lifestyle. There was nothing more exciting than placing one's phone on a desk or a lecture theatre table to show off this business-styled BlackBerry handset.

The desire to own either one or the other -- an iPhone or a BlackBerry -- gripped an entire generation, for all of about a year, until BlackBerrys began to simply fade away from college campuses.

Students went crazy for the BlackBerry. Its integrated QWERTY-keyboard and instant messaging capabilities, combined with cheap data plans and downloadable applications, made Research in Motion one of the most sought after phone manufacturer for student consumers.

Source: Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via ctv.ca)

But faith has dwindled somewhat in the past year, for reasons unknown. The Generation Y consumer market is not only a difficult one to understand, but also an equally tricky one to predict.

What is clear, however, is that the base of BlackBerry users still within the part-student, part Generation Y market, are still active, enthusiastic users of the once-popular smartphone.

It is, however, only a small proportion of its rapidly declining overall user spread.

As the BlackBerry maker tries to make up for an outage spread over four days through various regions, the company behind the smartphone series is offering a selection of free applications to 'compensate' users for their losses.

Games and applications, including Bejeweled, Sims 3 and others, worth more than $100 in total, will be made available over the next few weeks and will be free until the end of the year.

It will be a short-term fix to a long-term problem. I cannot see it recouping the total, non-financial losses the company has already forfeited during the extensive outage.

It would be unlikely under any circumstances for the BlackBerry maker to offer out cash as an alternative. Considering Research in Motion only really has control over the BlackBerry App World -- the phone application store -- rather than data prices or phone bills, it is all the company can offer.

To truly compensate users for the downtime, where data connections were impossible and email resolution never came, nor would data-reliant applications function or BlackBerry Messenger communicate, the company can restore faith and confidence in the service with its remaining customer base.

But that will probably never happen.

BlackBerry is on a sinking ship, and this could topple Research in Motion over the cliff of no return. Just taking into account the investor situation, with many still unforgiving after the outage hit over 50 million people worldwide.

In such a short space of time -- something that cannot be put down to nothing short of good luck on Apple's part -- the iPhone 4S saw record sales of a million pre-orders in a mere twenty-four hour period. As TechRepublic report, over 1 in 5 new iPhone 4S buyers are switching from their BlackBerry or other phones.

A short-term burst of free products may be enough to bribe a small section of the cash-strapped student market. But, the wider industry and consumer collective has a long way to go before it can forgive the Canadian company after its half-week BlackBerry outage.

Related:

Around the network:

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Hardware, Mobile OS, Mobility, Outage, BlackBerry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

8 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: Free apps as BlackBerry outage compensation; Too little, too late?

    Agreed! This is a half-hearted gesture, becasue they knew they had to do SOMETHING, but for most, it will not mean much.
    I have been a BB user for many years and am on my fourth Berry, but I fear it will be my last. RIM has simply not kept up with the times and have been overtaken on all sides.
    Must admit that my next phone may well be an iPhone, something I thought I would NEVER say!!
    CHSI.Steve
  • yawn

    I swear does ZDNet write a slam RIM article everyday (at least 4 today so far). What exactly did RIM do to you to deserve such hatred? Yes they had an outage, they fixed it, compensated (what they can control) and are improving their overall infrastructure. Please report the same level of scrutiny on other technologies when they fail / have issues.

    The thing with mobile is it's alwasy changing. Do we really want to have two dominant mobile platforms? If that is the case Apple should just stop making OS X as it's market share has barely moved in 10+ years. Still hovering around 10-12% of the market.

    Maybe RIM should just become a niche like they once were and let those who value their product and let the masses be happy with the same device year after year but with a couple new features. I mean every review about iPhone 4S talked about the camera and Siri. Am I buying a phone or a camera that talks to me?

    Perhaps RIM should buy Kodak and incorporate better camera technologies as it seems a large percent of people don't really want a phone anymore.
    MobileAdmin
    • RE: Free apps as BlackBerry outage compensation; Too little, too late?

      @MobileAdmin [b]Please report the same level of scrutiny on other technologies when they fail / have issues.[/b]

      Antennagate. The Linux Foundation. Android App market malware. Mac OSX malware. Every Windows Patch Tuesday. WP7 and no copy/paste on initial release.

      In other words there are a pile of articles on ZDNet that have to do with a perceived or actual failure of other technology than RIM. Stop acting like someone is insulting your girlfriend and open your eyes.
      athynz
      • RE: Free apps as BlackBerry outage compensation; Too little, too late?

        @Pete "athynz" Athens

        And with all of those, ZDnet overstates the issue.
        Michael Alan Goff
    • RE: Free apps as BlackBerry outage compensation; Too little, too late?

      @MobileAdmin I'm with you, I think ZDNet just hates RIM. Verizon's data network went down and nothing close to RIM's outage outcries.
      SinfoCOMAR
  • If I was Blackberry ...

    ... I would go to MS and try and pull off a business version of the Nokia WP7 deal before it's too late. Either that or run away to South America!

    The emerging smartphones ecosystems are now being run by titans - Apple, MS, and Google. Blackberry has to partner with one of them, or get squashed in the ensuing battles. I see no other hope for Blackberry!
    P. Douglas
  • Blessing in disguise

    This is brilliant in response by RIM. It will drive traffic to the appworld site which will enculturate and familiarize BB users with transacting there. The challenge for RIM all along was not with the device (necessarily, the Torch is a bit ambitious and buggy) but more with the lack of killer apps which is a market dominated by the IOS and Android software options. This could actually be a blessing in disguise for RIM.

    Also I agree with yawn, what is with the slamfest on RIM? They revolutionized this industry, and none of the top tier professionals and executives I work with use anything other than a BB. I love the Apple devices, but not for work, even if that is just a cultural barrier between my 'leisure' Apple product and 'work' BB devices.
    freedm
  • RE: Free apps as BlackBerry outage compensation; Too little, too late?

    The thing with mobile is it's alwasy changing. Do we really want to have two dominant mobile platforms? If that is the case <a href="http://oled-yo.com/" rel="dofollow" >oled tv</a> Apple should just stop making OS X as it's market share has barely moved in 10+ years.
    asderil