esearch In Motion, Ltd., (RIM) has positioned its Blackberry as the smartphone for business people who can’t afford downtime. Its email and instant messaging services use their own servers, which ensure privacy and until last week were pretty reliable.
Last week, on the eve of Apple’s iPhone 4s launch, something in RIM’s European backbone broke, disconnecting Blackberry users from, well, everything. The outage spread to North America and most Blackberry users were without service for about 3 days.
RIM sounded the PR alarm and offered $100 value free apps to its users, but the press isn’t good:
- ZDnet: RIM’s BlackBerry outage: $350 million max hit, but losing enterprise
- Wired: RIM, Blackberry, and The Outage That Dare Not Speak Its Name
- AP: BlackBerry outage creates ripple effect, spreads to North America
The smartphone market is changing quickly. Apple iPhone and Android phone sales are exploding, and Blackberry sales are quickly shrinking. RIM has had to retreat to the corporate market, whose IT managers like the control that RIM’s servers give them.
Everybody else is jumping aboard the iPhone and Android trains, and RIM’s outage last week gave those trains even more fuel.