RIM, you’re dead to me now

Reblogging this post from Jim Kerstetter, a senior executive editor at CNET News on the recent Blackberry problems.

I can’t believe you did this, RIM.

I’ve stuck up for you for years.
When the iPhone came out, I said, “Looks great, but what kind of security does it have?”
When Google and its posse of handset makers started selling quite lovely smart phones, I said, “OK, sure, but what about network reliability?”
And when Microsoft came out with its new Windows Phone stuff, I said, OK, I didn’t really say anything at all.

I’ve endured taunting by my wife, as she caressed her precious iPhone. I’ve tried to explain to my daughter when she asked why my phone doesn’t have cool games like her mother’s phone, that my BlackBerry is a work tool, you see, and I have no time for such things. I’ve even endured the giggles of coworkers who can’t believe I’m such a fuddy duddy, sticking with you. “For God’s sakes,” they say, “embrace the future.” And when things got rough with the other families, I even sent you to Vegas to learn the casino business.

But this gaffe, this is too much. I woke up yesterday and did the first thing I always do: I went to my BlackBerry to check my e-mail. This simple act is, mind you, very important to me. Has a big story broken overnight? Is there a crisis I need to deal with? I’m sure I’m not the only person who does this every morning.

And you know what I saw? That’s right, nada, nothing since about 5:30 PT (I’m sure other people experienced slightly different outages). I waited. I saw your apologies on Twitter and on your site. And on TV. I appreciated that you care. Really, I did. I’d have appreciated it a lot more if you didn’t go down for more than a half a day, of course.
Here’s the thing about BlackBerry users: We’re people who, at least when it comes to our phones, appreciate function over form. We’ve stuck with our little, not terribly stylish bricks because they worked. They didn’t drop calls at bad moments. The e-mail came in and was easy to access. The point was simplicity, lack of worry. It just worked.

Can I really say that now?

Last night, before I went to bed, I saw my e-mail reappearing on my phone and hoped, really hoped, that even more new e-mails would be there in the morning. They were. Thank you for that. And I’m sure a few million government employees, along with President Obama (I think), were happy to walk into the office this morning a little better informed about what their day was going to bring.
But this may have put me over the edge. You broke my heart, RIM. You made me look all kinds of foolish. Saturday morning, I’ll be looking for a new phone. I won’t be visiting the BlackBerry section.

(Emphasis by me)

Just the right amount of humour and personality in there to make us understand that this has affected him personally, rather than it being just another tirade over the server problems which took the BB network down for a couple of days earlier this week.

But Jim hits the nail on the head with his observations on Blackberry users. It’s function over form. The function? Well, it’s BBM (for the young guys), it’s the “free” internet for the older ones. The form? Well, it’s non-existant:

A lack of new products, a lack of innovation, a particularly pathetic tablet offering, a lack of decent apps and some strong competition from Android and Apple that RIM seem to have no answer to and it really looks like they could be headed the same way as Nokia.

As Jim says:

The point was simplicity, lack of worry. It just worked.

Now that one advantage has been lost as well.

And when you add in the disrespectful lack of information given to their customers during the crash, the cross-platform loveliness of Whatsapp (iMessage – yeah, whatever) and the ever-decreasing costs of data, it’s suddenly looking very ropey for RIM.

So, BB users: Are you happy to stick with BB? If so, why?
Or are you, like Jim, ready to move on? Now or at the end of your contract?

7 thoughts on “RIM, you’re dead to me now

  1. *Snigger* Anyone who was affected by this 3 day Blackberry outage obviously did not have a plan B.
    It’s pathetic – if you can’t read your email on your handset, then USE THE COMPUTER WHEN YOU GET BACK TO THE OFFICE and if you can’t text your china on the BBM, PHONE THEM or EMAIL THEM FROM THE AFOREMENTIONED WORK COMPUTER!


    (Yes, I do use a Blackberry [and quite happily again since yesterday.])

  2. I am with Andrew_40 on this one. Technology is fallable. If you rely on one sort of technology to get you through your work day, then you are planning to fail.
    The over-reaction to a 3 day (partial) outage is beyond me.
    So you couldn’t get your email on your phone?! Big deal – I have a laptop & 3G dongle for when I am on the road – if your emails are THAT important to you then you should be able to access it from more than one place.
    So you couldn’t BBM your friends/colleagues for 3 days? Big deal – Maybe its time to make a phonecall/send an sms instead.
    So your twitter/facebook apps stopped working? Big deal – Use Opera on your BB and voila – you are able to update as usual.

    The BIS network has been reliable 99% of the time. Where I work we have a 95% uptime Service Level Agreement , so in terms of that the BIS outage was nothing.

  3. With the amount of data I devour a day, Blackberry is the most affordable option for me. I also dislike touchscreens. As much as it pains me, I’m sticking to BB.

  4. Its scary to think that a big company like RIM could fail like this… but if you look closely its happening more and more.

    It happened to Sony the other day as well, they were hacked but their newtwork remained down for weeks. A network that exists purely for entertainment. The costs were estimated to be in the billions.
    This was not a network used for work stuff, it was a gaming network.

    Its going to start happening more and more… other providers are looking in to offering similar types of services, the reason ? Its what people want.

    Very bad time for something like this to happen to RIM.

    People are fickle… and so we should be. Its a great time to be shopping around for a new cellphone

  5. As much as I don’t like BB’s (and you could argue that even the simplicity doesn’t work all that well – see 6k, Mrs for details), an outage like this shouldn’t have too big an impact on their market share. Why not? Because no technology is ever going to be 100% infallable 100% of the time.

    Where they DID goof through this was in the lack of PR work. When the servers went down, they should have communicated the fault, and expected recovery time to full service. They should have warned their clients that there was going to be a considerable delay, and that when the service did come back it was going to cause delays in other markets. This they did not do.

    And in a market that is getting ever more competitive, for a company already struggling to maintain anything like an edge, that may have been more catastrophic than the actual failure. I can live with technological issues. I really can. But bad customer service when there’s a better option available? Sorry. That’s where I draw the line.

  6. andrew 40 > Irony alert: BB user calls other people “muppets”.

    Mvelase > So much of sense.

    Diva > Reasonable – but see Gary’s point below.

    Elle > Enjoy your pain!

    Craigg > When you have all your eggs in one basket, it pays not to drop the basket.

    Gary > I agree. And RIM are in trouble anyway. They had a great chance to use this to show how a good company reacts well. They failed.

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