BlackBerry outage compensation: RIM offers free apps and technical support

We app-reciate you, says RIM to BlackBerry subscribers...
Written by Natasha Lomas, Contributor

We app-reciate you, says RIM to BlackBerry subscribers...

BlackBerry apps

RIM is offering BlackBerry users premium apps for free as compensation for service disruptionsPhoto: Ian Lamont

BlackBerry users left for around three days without email or access to the mobile web last week have been offered apps to the value of $100-plus by RIM as compensation for the service disruptions.

RIM said a selection of "premium apps" worth more than $100 will be offered free of charge to subscribers as "an expression of appreciation for their patience" during the outage.

Enterprise customers will also be offered one month's free technical support from RIM - with current technical support customers being offered a complimentary one-month extension of their existing support contract. Full details about the enterprise offer can be found here.

All BlackBerry customers in regions affected by the outages will be offered the apps and/or tech support, according RIM. Enterprise customers will be able to claim both the apps and the tech support offer.

Apps that will be available for free download include games such as Bejeweled, Bubble Bash 2, N.O.V.A., The Sims 3 and Texas Hold'em Poker 2, along with tools such as Drive Safe.ly Enterprise, DriveSafe.ly Pro, iSpeech Translator Pro, Nobex Radio Premium, Photo Editor Ultimate, Shazam Encore and Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant.

RIM said additional apps will be added to the list soon. RIM will make apps available for free download between 19 October and 31 December. However, the company noted the availability of the offer will depend on the type of device each BlackBerry user has, the OS version, access to BlackBerry App World, and local conditions and restrictions.

BlackBerry users in EMEA were first disconnected from their emails and the web last Monday before the problem spread to India and South America - and finally to the US.

RIM eventually explained the outage had been caused by a dual-redundant high-capacity switch failing and then its back-up failing to function as intended - generating a backlog of data and spreading disruption to BlackBerry services globally.

"We are grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers for their patience," said RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis in a statement. "We have apologised to our customers and we will work tirelessly to restore their confidence. We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again."

Polled about whether last week's outage would permanently damage RIM's reputation among business customers, silicon.com's CIO Jury of UK IT chiefs voted yes by a margin of eight to four.

Richard Lovelock, head of IT at The Royal British Legion, said: "I think RIM's serious three-day-plus outage, of what for many businesses are essential email and messaging services, is likely to remain in the IT industry's short-term memory for a number of years, which can only put doubts in people's minds over RIM's long-term future to handle such traffic."

For more CIO responses, read the full story: BlackBerry outage - what do CIOs think of RIM now?.

Is RIM's offer of $100-worth of apps and/or a month's free technical support adequate recompense for last week's BlackBerry service outage? Let us know your thoughts on the compensation offer by posting a comment below...

Editorial standards