The BlackBerry outages that had plagued Europe earlier this week reached American shores yesterday, with users complaining of lengthy service interruptions. Research in Motion blamed the problem on a failed infrastructure link, and although many are reporting a return of service this morning, Mike Lazaridis, co-CEO of RIM, said, "It's too soon to say that this issue is fully resolved."
It's an obvious statement, but we'll say it anyway: BlackBerry really doesn't need this right now. It's already losing ground to iPhone and Android in the market as users defect to the other platform, and poor service could expedite the process even further.
Last month our very own Louis Ramirez found loads of dealnews data that suggested consumer interest in BlackBerry has been waning. In fact, recent BlackBerry deals receive 60% fewer clicks from our readers than refurbished iPhone deals. That's a significantly wider chasm than last year, when the difference was merely 10%. We posited that it "suggests a significant drop off in interest in just a year, and it paints a pretty bleak future for RIM." If BlackBerry ever hoped to redeem itself with consumers, it's losing its chance — and quickly.
Many loyalists to BlackBerry will tell you that they prefer the device's email functionality (with actual buttons), and they adore the fee-free BlackBerry messaging, or BBM, between users. But since Apple just unveiled iMessage last week — a feature that's identical to BBM and available with iOS 5 — BlackBerry may be losing one of its last remaining advantages. (Amusingly, iOS 5 became available to download yesterday, although it too came with a few bugs.)
So will these interruptions in service be the final straw for BlackBerry users who are on the fence? Will they be tempted to jump ship? At this point, would you, dealnews reader, opt to buy a BlackBerry?
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