BlackBerry brand seriously hurt by outages, according to our panel

Steve Dinneen
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THE BlackBerry brand has been seriously damaged by the recent outages that left users with no data services for three working days, according to the City A.M. / PoliticsHome Voice of the City Panel.

More than half of the 355 people surveyed said it will take longer than six months for BlackBerry to restore its dented reputation, with 10 per cent saying it will never recover. Only four per cent said BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) was unaffected by the server failure.

An overwhelming 90 per cent of BlackBerry users said they had been hit by the outages last week, suggesting the problems were not limited to individual consumers but also hit enterprise contracts.

Almost two thirds of respondents said Apple will be the biggest winner, with HTC and Samsung also among the top choices. Forty-four per cent of people said last week’s events will make them less likely to choose a BlackBerry when it comes to renewing their contracts, with almost a fifth saying they are “much less likely” to choose the brand. A third said it would not affect their decision to buy a BlackBerry next time.

The most common answer when we asked respondents to describe the current state of the BlackBerry/RIM brand in just one word was “damaged,” with “tarnished,” “unreliable” and “troubled” also featuring highly.

The angry response was as much due to RIM’s handling of the crisis as the outage itself. One respondent said: “People will forgive you for a mistake if they understand what went wrong and what you’re doing about it – but if you communicate poorly, as RIM has, then people are far less forgiving.”

Another said: “RIM didn’t manage the problem well. It should have been quicker to acknowledge it had a serious problem and said it was addressing it as fast as possible.”