Outlook bleak for Rim after outage?

Almost a third of enterprise customers intending to shift mobile platforms next year, research indicates

October 20, 2011
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After last week’s three and a half day outage, it doesn’t take a top class detective to work out that BlackBerry owners aren’t likely to be very happy at the moment.

Although current research suggests that customers who threatened to leave last week might be intending to make good on that threat in substantial numbers.

Rim has offered an olive branch in the form of a free package amounting to $100 worth of BlackBerry apps in terms of compensation, but it would seem that hasn’t impressed too many people.

Corporate users have also had the carrot of a free month’s technical support dangled in front of them, but it’s the enterprise sector where Rim may face its biggest problems next year due to the downtime – and the way they handled it.

Of course, when it comes to business any snafu can be critical in terms of time and money, particularly when it’s a protracted affair as was last week’s outage.

SlashGear reports that according to a survey by Enterprise Management Associates, 30% of businesses using BlackBerries now intend to move to another mobile platform in 2012. Only 14% said they were happy with their Rim device.

YouGov also pointed out the plunge in the perception of the BlackBerry brand in particular, which dropped far more than Rim itself.

YouGov’s BrandIndex “buzz score” showed a drop from 0 to -14 for Rim, not a great performance by any means, but a much lighter penalty than the BlackBerry name which fell from 10 at the start of the week before the outage, to -52 at the end of the week.

Of course, immediately after the problem has occurred, feedback from annoyed customers is bound to be at its most negative, and you can bet some of these folks won’t follow through on their threats.

But even if half do, Rim would lose some 15% of its business customers, and who knows how many consumers. With the company’s figures falling globally, it can hardly afford to suffer that fate.

Rim’s hopes for 2012 are pinned on BBX, the new smartphone operating system which merges QNX (as seen on the PlayBook) with the current BlackBerry OS, slated for introduction on handsets next year.

But if brand trust has been lost, it’ll have to be a very compelling offering to begin to eke out some positive smartphone market share headway.


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