With the third day of outages in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa now spreading to North America, BlackBerry customers have been experiencing the worst outages since two years ago in North America. This couldn’t come at a worse time with Apple’s soon release of it’s (sold out) iPhone 4s and the release of it’s iCloud services today.
While it appears that many business are reluctant to let go of the BlackBerry, it appears that this maybe the final nail in the coffin for RIM. It’s already reported a dismal set of quarterly results and a plunge in its share price, and with new products like its PlayBook tablet computer being poorly received by consumers.
The major fault that BlackBerry has against it’s competitors, like Apple and Android, is that you have to run all information through BlackBerry’s own service. There isn’t an app that can just “Plug and Play” with your email service provider. Years ago, this was done through items like a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), but since the availability of wireless communication and 3G, they have shifted platforms over to BlackBerry Internet Service or BIS. Still, regardless of it’s capabilities, all data is still run through the BlackBerry service so when there is an outage like this, there is really nothing you can do until it’s resolved. Unfortunately, you cannot call your IT guy and have him reboot the server. It’s all up to BlackBerry and how soon they can fix the issue.
Many companies have already begun to allow it’s employees to use alternate smart phones for secure corporate email. Apple’s iPhone comes with the ability to connect to a Microsoft Exchange server within it’s email application. But is the cost of shifting employees (or entire companies) over to another smart phone worth it?
So, is this the end? I think that RIM needs to take are long step back and consider what their next move is going to be in regards to this “kerfuffle” that is lasting longer that they anticipated.