This ad will auto close in 10 seconds

BlackBerry blackout is new threat to brand

Last Updated: Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 17:44

New York: The longest BlackBerry outage in many years left customers outraged this week, threatening to cost the granddaddy of all smartphones more business when it`s already struggling to keep up in a crowded marketplace.

The three-day blackout interrupted email and Internet services for tens of millions of frustrated users and inflicted more damage on an already tarnished brand.

"I`ve been a pretty big BlackBerry advocate," said Kate Jacobson, a student at Michigan State University. "But I`m done playing these games with you, BlackBerry."

After using a BlackBerry for three years, she said the outage was the "last straw." When service was restored Thursday morning, she got an iPhone anyway.

Her unhappiness was shared by users across several continents. BlackBerrys in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa had been without email or chat messages since Monday.

In the US and Canada, the outage was shorter, starting Wednesday. But many, perhaps most, of the world`s 70 million BlackBerry users were affected.

"When I woke up in the morning and had zero emails, I was like, `That`s impossible,`" Jacobson said. She had already endured problems with her BlackBerry Curve turning off at the wrong moments. It didn`t play videos well, either.

Research In Motion Ltd., which makes the phones and handles email traffic to them, said the system was steadily processing a vast backlog of stalled messages.

The company`s two CEOs apologized profusely. It was a break from the past, when outages of BlackBerry service merited only terse statements from the company.

Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie said they had not made plans yet to compensate customers, but they were turning their attention to that question.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 17:44
comments powered by Disqus