Network Blackout: Blackberry Compensates Users With Free Apps

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Blackberry is offering free apps worth £63 to placate customers hit by more than three days of services problems.

Research in Motion, the Canadian company behind the phones, made the announcement yesterday.

It attracted widespread anger after millions around the world were unable to access email, surf the web or use the BlackBerry Messenger service. Many vented their fury on Twitter and other social networking sites.

The problems began last Monday and services were only fully restored by Thursday.

RIM said the selection of premium apps will be offered as ‘an expression of appreciation for their patience’ during the disruptions.

The apps will be available on the BlackBerry App World from tomorrow, Wednesday, 19 October until 31 December.

The move to repair the damage to its reputation comes as a survey last week revealed that one in five BlackBerry users was considering switching to another supplier, following the problems.

Even BlackBerry’s ‘core’ business, providing secure email and messaging to business, seems to be under threat.

Financial institutions such as Morgan Stanley and the Royal Bank of Scotland are reportedly trialling iPhones and iPads within their management teams.

‘I’m not sure that the business users who rely on BlackBerry for important messages are going to be satisfied,’ says Will Findlater, editor of Stuff magazine.

More than 1,000 customers quizzed by shopping comparison website Kelkoo found that 19 per cent were thinking about moving to another manufacturer.

Meanwhile, 42 per cent said they would consider changing later and eight per cent said they had already bought a new mobile phone.

Research among another 3,000 people found that seven out of 10 who were planning to get a BlackBerry in the future admitted they would need some reassurance from the manufacturer as they would be put off by last week’s problems.

Announcing the free apps RIM co-chief executive, Mike Lazaridis said: ‘Our global network supports the communications needs of more than 70 million customers.

‘We truly appreciate and value our relationship with our customers.

‘We’ve worked hard to earn their trust over the past 12 years, and we’re committed to providing the high standard of reliability they expect, today and in the future.’

the free apps will include SIMS 3, Bejeweled, Bubble Bash 2, N.O.V.A. ,Texas Hold’em Poker 2, Bubble Bash Photo Editor Ultimate , DriveSafe.ly Pro, iSpeech Translator Pro .Drive Safe.ly Enterprise, Nobex Radio Premium, Shazam Encore and Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant

Mr Lazaridis said: ‘We are grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers for their patience.

‘We have apologised to our customers and we will work tirelessly to restore their confidence.

‘We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again.’

What began as a minor inconvenience a week ago had turned into a fiasco by Tuesday morning as problems spread throughout Europe and the Middle East before hitting users in India and Latin America.

By Wednesday the problems had reached America and Canada.

At least ten million of the company’s 70million users encountered disruption, reporting problems with email, web browsing and instant messaging following the server crash at the firm’s data centre in Slough, Berkshire.

The firm said it had problems with its ‘core switch’, a series of specialised computers which receives and redirects millions of emails and messages every minute.

—Henry Ojelu