MM events

Goodbye BlackBerry Way?

David Murphy

It would appear that the BlackBerry outage is now well into its third day, after services were briefly restored late on Monday. Or maybe it’s all been fixed, but RIM hasn’t told anyone. Because there’s been no official media statement from RIM about the issue, save for the most recent update to the BlackBerry Twitter feed, posted 16 hours ago, which reads: “Message delays were caused by a core switch failure in RIM's infrastructure. Now being resolved. Sorry for inconvenience.”

RIM’s UK MD, Stephen Bates, was due to speak at the BlackBerry Innovation Forum in London this morning, but Bates made only a brief appearance, before being replaced by RIM's EMEA VP of software and services, Rory O’Neill. He explained Bates’s quick exit by telling delegates: “Stephen has gone back to talk to other channels, customers and partners to make sure they stay one hundred per cent informed.”

This is a staggering statement when you consider how inept RIM has so far been at keeping its customers informed about the severity of the problem, and when it might be resolved. We have asked RIM’s PR firm in the UK for an official statement, but no response as yet. You can only imagine that they are as angry as BlackBerry’s users - they must be being bombarded with such requests, but presumably, have nothing they are allowed to release.

However long the issue takes to resolve itself, this is already going down as a seminal case study of how not to handle a problem. The fact that all this is happening as Apple releases the latest update to its mobile operating system, iOS 5, complete with its answer to BBM, iMessenger, just makes it all the more ironic.

The London BlackBerry Innovation Forum event is the second leg of a roadshow that takes in eight cities, ending in Frankfurt on 29 November. Could be an uncomfortable few weeks for RIM if things carry on like this.

Many of you reading this may be too young to get the musical reference in the title of this post, but as a kid, the song, by The Move, was one of my favourite tunes. It’s worth sharing the lyrics with you:

"Goodbye Blackberry Way
I can't see you
I don't need you…"

Hope for RIM’s sake it doesn’t get a re-release…

David Murphy