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Blackberry Network News

RIM Offers Free Apps Following Outage 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the please-come-back dept.
wiredmikey writes "Following a series of outages last week that affected BlackBerry users around the word over a three day period, RIM has come forward with its plans to "make good" on the incidents that frustrated millions of users who bashed the mobile technology provider. Research In Motion today said it would offer a selection of premium apps worth more than US $100 free of charge to subscribers as 'an expression of appreciation for their patience during the recent service disruptions.' The company also announced that its enterprise customers will also be offered one month of free Technical Support."
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RIM Offers Free Apps Following Outage

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    • by delinear (991444)
      Indeed, this means the more loyal customers who've already purchased many of these apps will be disproportionately rewarded (unless it's just $100 to spend on whatever they please). Either way the company is acting like it's a given that this is more than adequate compensation - for businesses who rely on the service it could well be a drop in the ocean of their losses for the period the service was down.
    • by optimism (2183618) on Monday October 17, 2011 @02:32PM (#37742264)

      RIM: "As a show of...appreciation for your patience during the recent service disruptions, umm...here's a sandwich!"

      Customer: "But-"

      RIM: "Thanks for coming everybody! Goodnight!"

      Customer: "Noooo! Wait!"

      RIM: "What? You got your sandwich!"

      • by narcc (412956)

        Hey, it's more than Apple users got for the constant outages to their $99/year MobileMe service.

        There were two just recently, one Sept. 30, and another shortly after. But go ahead and bash RIM for offering free apps and free support.

        • Hey, it's more than Apple users got for the constant outages to their $99/year MobileMe service.

          I think they gave me one (or was it two) extra months of less crappy service. Apple did (finally) manage to message the kinks out of MobileMe. Just in time to drop it completely and create an entirely new set of problems in the iCloud.

          Was Murphy recursive?

  • Wow! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 17, 2011 @10:53AM (#37739158)

    I wasn't even aware there was $100 worth of apps on the BlackBerry app store to begin with!

    • by BigT (70780)

      $100 is only enough for 2, maybe 3, blackberry apps. You won't find many 99-centers in the BB App World, like you will on the Apple app store. The BB is for business customers and the apps are priced accordingly. Most that I've seen start at $3.99. Many themes are $5 and up.

  • Bye bye, RIM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scutter (18425) on Monday October 17, 2011 @10:55AM (#37739186) Journal

    This is the second major outage RIM has experienced while my company has used their phones. Unfortunately for them, this one came right in the middle of my company's evaluation period for new phones company-wde and it just sealed their fate. RIM's going bye-bye.

    • by pnewhook (788591)

      This is the second major outage RIM has experienced while my company has used their phones.... RIM's going bye-bye

      Wow, I really dont understand this backlash for two outages... lets see:

      Gmail went down in 2009 and 2011. Those morons at Google just dont understand how to scale for their user demands so I'm cancelling my service as a protect.

      Hotmail, MSN and the whole Microsoft cloud go down more than Snooki on JerseyShore. Out goes those incompetent bastards.

      Yahoo mail also goes down a lot. Out they go.

      I remember both my cable and power going out during a storm. The utility companies clearly don't give a shit ab

      • Re:Bye bye, RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday October 17, 2011 @12:56PM (#37740982) Homepage Journal

        And in the mean time, our company's mailserver has been at 100% availability outside planned service upgrade windows. 100%. Not a single unplanned outage, ever, in nearly a decade. If there were a multi-day service outage, several people (including me) would be having an extremely unpleasant meeting with the company's owner to explain why we should still be employed.

        That's why I have no problem holding RIM accountable. For most people, Gmail, Hotmail, MSN, and Yahoo! are unpaid services. You pay dearly for BlackBerry service, though, and expect a higher level of professionalism out of them. I mean, there are circumstances that you just can't plan for. Rolling out a patch company-wide before testing it isn't one of them.

        • Re:Bye bye, RIM (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Monday October 17, 2011 @02:52PM (#37742494)

          I'm sorry to tell you this, but you seriously jinx'd yourself.

          • I have said server cowed into terror. It knows I'd tear it down at the hardware level if I needed to so it's very obedient.
      • by OneFix (18661)

        A lot of blackberry users rely on their email to run multi million dollar corporations. These companies would never rely on a rebranded free solution like G-Mail for important emails. And, if they do, they deserve to go without services when an outage like this hits.

        And, it's not just email that is effected. As it sits, there is no conceivable way for a global outage of Android services, but from what I'm told, this included contacts and events as well.

      • Re:Bye bye, RIM (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Eil (82413) on Monday October 17, 2011 @01:43PM (#37741688) Homepage Journal

        Every one of those that you listed is a free consumer-level service. There was never even so much as a hint of guaranteed uptime. In fact, the terms of service quite clearly specify that Google, Yahoo, et al can do literally anything they like, up to and including deleting your account permanently for no reason whatsoever.

        RIM developed, marketed, and sold Blackberry as an enterprise communication system. It is most assuredly not free. The government relies on RIM's services, as well as the vast majority of large enterprises. My previous job was a sysadmin in a large financial institution where every minute of downtime was quite realistically estimated in the millions of dollars. Blackberries were how the entire IT department communicated with each other and the monitoring systems both during and after hours. Without the use of our Blackberries, we would have had no way to respond to "host down" alerts coordinate for the nightly 3 a.m. maintenance windows.

      • Did you notice that all the other services you mentioned were free? Except power which is sort of a monopoly. Of course you could get your own generator*

        *Unless you live in an HOA. If you live in an apartment you could sacrifice a window or two for engine exhaust/intake air and radiator inlet/exhaust

        • by fafaforza (248976)

          Are they free? Is allowing a company to read your email and make money off of you with direct advertising cost free to you?

    • by dargaud (518470)
      Yes, it seems likely. I know a few pro users of this closed garden phone company. They are very pissed, for good reasons. And they are going for the iPhone now. Another closed garden. Go figure. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
  • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Monday October 17, 2011 @10:56AM (#37739198)

    I'd use that free month's worth of support to have RIM help me move my account to another service.
    Wonder if they'll do that?

    • Well think about how contacts on a Blackberry are managed and then consider how helpful RIM might be:

      There are many ways to import contacts in large numbers directly or indirectly onto a Blackberry.

      To get them off there are three ways:

      1. Move them onto another Blackberry through the desktop software
      2. Use the desktop software and a PIM manager to turn them into vcards, and then put them on another phone. No problem for an Average Joe right?
      3. Beam them one at a fucking time off the Blackberry.

      I'm so glad th

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday October 17, 2011 @02:36PM (#37742310)

      If you have a chance reaching anyone there... I mean, consider this:

      1. They probably won't hire more supporters just for a month.
      2. During this month, people will call for anything.
      3. RIM already showed how well they scale with increased demand.

  • I didn't see a list of the free apps in the linked article. Odd that I actually bother to RTFA and I get no useful information on it. In other words, good summary by slashdot of a terrible article.
    • by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Monday October 17, 2011 @10:59AM (#37739232) Homepage

      Listed on SlashGear [slashgear.com]:

      • SIMS 3 – Electronic Arts
      • Bejeweled – Electronic Arts
      • N.O.V.A. – Gameloft
      • Texas Hold’em Poker 2 – Gameloft
      • Bubble Bash 2 – Gameloft
      • Photo Editor Ultimate – Ice Cold Apps
      • DriveSafe.ly Pro – iSpeech.org
      • iSpeech Translator Pro – iSpeech.org
      • Drive Safe.ly Enterprise – iSpeech.org
      • Nobex Radio Premium – Nobex
      • Shazam Encore – Shazam
      • Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant – Vlingo
    • by Scutter (18425)

      I didn't see a list of the free apps in the linked article. Odd that I actually bother to RTFA and I get no useful information on it. In other words, good summary by slashdot of a terrible article.

      You should have read all the way to the end:

      RIM said the apps will be made available to customers over the coming weeks on BlackBerry® App World and will be available through the end of this year.

      This is marketspeak for "We'll offer it when we get around to making the list of the bottom-100 selling apps that we can foist off on you as a freebie. It'll probably be Q2 of next year before we decide."

  • $100 of premium apps from EA, gameloft, ispeech and vlingo (Blackberry's version of Siri) is an awesome reward for having my e-mail arrive 15 mins late around 1am last Tuesday!
    • Unless of course the email delays cost you $200+ in business.

      • by rdoherty (898394)
        If a company lost $200+ due to email delays, I'm certain their lawyers would be breathing down the necks of RIM.. yet, I doubt there are any BBM-loving BIS users who lost $100+ of anything when they were forced to rely on SMS and old-fashioned phone calls when their phones were affected by the outage.
        • Yes most companies that reliant on BBs would have had BES which I understand were not affected. Even if someone did lose $200, I'm pretty sure their contract with RIMM absolves them of losses due to outages.
          • Re:Unless... (Score:5, Informative)

            by simpz (978228) on Monday October 17, 2011 @12:34PM (#37740682)
            Yeah I keep hearing this spin. We are a BES user and all our BB's were all down for 2 days and some were down for all 3 days!
            • There are only a few of us BB users left at my company, but I had no BES issues (just issues with Gmail during the last day), and another user had no service at all. Of course, I have a new BB Torch 9850 and he had an ancient 8830, so that may have played a role. Both on the same BES.
          • by Sporkinum (655143)

            All our BES phones were down for a day for Email and BBM. They worked fine for texts and calls.

        • If anything, the fact that apparently no lawyers are breathing down RIMs neck shows just how important manager emails really are.

      • Anyone making serious money who relies on such a heavily centralized and locked-in service deserves what they get.

      • by tompaulco (629533)
        Unless of course the email delays cost you $200+ in business.
        E-mail is not guaranteed delivery. I wouldn't make important business decisions for my company dependent upon timely delivery of something that has no guarantee of being delivered at all, and especially not e-mail delivery to my phone, which may be off, have a low battery, or be out of service area.
    • Of course, on the flip side, $100 of stupid game apps for delaying the sending of critical emails by over 4 hours is utterly ridiculous, and bordering on the insulting.

      • by narcc (412956)

        Hey, it's better than the nothing you got from the zillions of times Apple's $99/year MobileMe service went down. (Twice in the past couple weeks)

        Oh, and your emails did get delivered -- they didn't lose a single message. Can anyone say the same for Apples outages?

    • hey hey hey! That's RIAA/MPAA accounting you've got going on there.

      Were you going to buy those apps?
      If no, then clearly they lose nothing by just giving them to you.
      Ergo their worth is actually $0.

      Aren't you pissed that RIM would compensate you for the annoyance - and others for the full-on downtime - with squat?

      Hmm wait, I think I'm wielding that double-edged sword wrong..

      • by rdoherty (898394)
        Actually, I did consider buying NOVA ($7), iSpeech ($20) and vlingo ($20), but didn't want to spend money on them.. and, I'd imagine that there are other blackberry users who would have bought some of these if they knew about them.
    • by pnewhook (788591)

      Actually for me its an awesome deal for being completely unaffected in the slightest way at all.

  • Only problem is... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrCrassic (994046) <<li.ame> <ta> <detacerped>> on Monday October 17, 2011 @10:58AM (#37739220) Journal
    When apps on iOS, Android and even Windows Phone are way better than Blackberry apps and people begin to realise that these types of outages are not possible on those platforms (everything on a Blackberry, including internet usage, goes through continental proxies; not the case on Apple et. al. except for specialised services like iCloud and Gmail and such), free apps aren't good enough. On top of that, this doesn't do anything for companies like mine that prohibit end-users from installing anything on our Blackberry phones for regulatory reasons.

    Even if they release a phone that's super-awesome and is somewhat competitive with today's smartphones (so far, this seems unlikely), their hub-spoke service model for consumer service is ridiculously outdated. Wake me up when they've gotten rid of BIS and internet proxies.
    • by MrCrassic (994046)
      Two other things:
      • Their list of free software is weak sauce. Have a look.
      • The apps include: SIMS 3, Bejeweled, N.O.V.A., Texas Hold'em Poker 2, Bubble Bash 2, Photo Editor Ultimate, DriveSafe.ly Pro, iSpeech Translator Pro, Drive Safe.ly Enterprise, Nobex Radio Premium, Shazam Encore, and Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant.

      • That month of free tech support is great and all, but not good enough for the seemingly-infinite stream of drama with BES.
      • What's wrong with the apps? A good number are quality games, but there are some real good tools in there too. I've been using BlackBerry effectively for years and I was running apps before iPhone even came out. The apps may not always look as pretty, and there may not be the sheer bulk of quantity, but there are some nice quality apps that I rely on and work great. But I get it you don't like BlackBerry. Regarding BES, I've rarely had any issues with BES. Most issues stem from a bad configuration (eas
    • by pnewhook (788591) on Monday October 17, 2011 @12:33PM (#37740668)

      When apps on iOS, Android and even Windows Phone are way better than Blackberry apps and people begin to realise that these types of outages are not possible on those platforms

      Outages are not possible on these platforms because BB offers a service that these guys do not. During the outage my phone lost BBB service so I only had the phone, internet, SMS and email services. Basically everything every other smartphone can do.

      everything on a Blackberry, including internet usage, goes through continental proxies; not the case on Apple et. al. except for specialised services like iCloud and Gmail and such

      Nonsense. My phone was unaffected for internet and messaging. Only BB messaging service was affected.

      On top of that, this doesn't do anything for companies like mine that prohibit end-users from installing anything on our Blackberry phones for regulatory reasons.

      Ah - so you are upset that you cannot waste company time by playing Angry Birds...

    • by Lucky75 (1265142)

      When apps on iOS, Android and even Windows Phone are way better than Blackberry apps and people begin to realise that these types of outages are not possible on those platforms (everything on a Blackberry, including internet usage, goes through continental proxies; not the case on Apple et. al. except for specialised services like iCloud and Gmail and such), free apps aren't good enough.

      That's how they do all the compression which saves you a shit ton on data usage, as well as the extra security. Pretty sure BES wasn't affected though. meaning it was only non-corporate users who had problems.

      On top of that, this doesn't do anything for companies like mine that prohibit end-users from installing anything on our Blackberry phones for regulatory reasons.

      Although your company did get 1 month free BES support. But you're right, it doesn't help you in particular. Were you even affected?

      Even if they release a phone that's super-awesome and is somewhat competitive with today's smartphones (so far, this seems unlikely), their hub-spoke service model for consumer service is ridiculously outdated. Wake me up when they've gotten rid of BIS and internet proxies.

      That depends on whether you like compression and security. A lot of people do.

  • Users will want an app that allows them to migrate off RIM to iOS or Android.
  • Free playbooks instead? Nobody wants to buy them anyways. Might as well make some sort of real attempt to keep your current customers.
  • Why bother? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dammy (131759)

    As a BB owner, why bother at all? Either they have the person hooked on a corp account, hooked on BBM, or waiting to get off a contract to buy a iPhone or Droid. BB will not be my next phone.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Monday October 17, 2011 @11:13AM (#37739408) Homepage Journal

    Just asking.

  • by cormandy (513901) on Monday October 17, 2011 @11:22AM (#37739556)

    Loyal but pi**ed off Blackberry user here... I was impacted by the outage last week. Run a small consulting firm, no BES so I am reliant on Blackberry's infrastructure via my mobile telco. Listen here RIM, if I wanted apps I'd buy an iPhone. Any compensation for us business users? Blackberry's roots are with business users and the enterprise environment, which is why I have continued to suffer with the device as more flash products have been released by RIM's competitors. Last week's outage was such a serious blow to RIM as the back-end Blackberry infrastructure remains their only remaining advantage. The Blackberry Torch -- which I loath for many reasons -- is so gutless that it is barely usable for surfing the web let alone for running Apps. RIM has taken last week's disaster as an opportunity to market their no-doubt underutilized App store. Very disappointing RIM...

    • Which Torch? The original 9800 was still pretty weak, but the new line is much better. Also, I'd suggest you setup a BES Express for your company. It's free and its not that complicated to setup. Not sure how big your infrastructure is, but I run it on a virtual machine and it works great. In fact, I had no issues with my BES email coming through during the outage. I had a problem with my Gmail though during that period. Another user on an old 8830 didn't get his BES emails though, so it might have b
    • by narcc (412956)

      The Blackberry Torch -- which I loath for many reasons -- is so gutless that it is barely usable for surfing the web let alone for running Apps.

      Compare the "magical" web-browsing experience of the iPhone 3GS to the BB Torch 9800. Hey, look at that, the Torch beats the pants off of the 3GS!

      Do the same with an iPhone 4 and the Torch is still competitive -- and does a superior job of handling HTML 5.

      Their new phones are even better. Sorry, you're very clearly uninformed.

      • by cormandy (513901)

        I'm not convinced. Clearly the only way for me to appreciate how good I have it with the Blackberry Torch is to upgrade to an iPhone. Surely I will then come crawling back to RIM begging for forgiveness.
        Look, I have been using Blackberries for years; I upgraded to a Torch after putting my Bold through the washing machine. That was a £400 expense. That's $640 Canadian dollars for all you hoser RIM fanboys out there; and I know who you are: Comsci and PEng grads in EE or CE from Waterloo, UofT, UBC,

  • Time will tell whether this is enough to appease the Blackberry user and enterprise communities, or whether they continue to lose customer base to other, newer platforms. I suspect the consumers will continue to abandon them in favour of the iPhone, Android, and Win7 phones. But there still isn't much competition at the enterprise level. Even for those platforms that have some form of enterprise management, I haven't heard of any that provide the device data encryption that RIM does.

    In the meantime, p

  • ... if you're too busy playing Angry Birds, maybe you won't notice their system being down.

  • I'm sorry, but if I still had my blackberry, I'd demand a refund for the down time I couldn't use my data plan (you know.. the extra $35 blackberry.net fee you have to pay via your carrier).

  • "Map Locations of Working iPhones and Droids"

  • by jimicus (737525) on Monday October 17, 2011 @12:02PM (#37740192)

    I ask this in all seriousness: Are RIM even trying?

    The core of their business that they built up was corporate customers who they sold BES to. But the first 5 apps they're offering are all games.

    Meanwhile, the various Android phone vendors and Apple have been merrily chipping away at the corporate market at a rate of knots and are now starting to look at the low-end handsets that are subsidised to the point of being incredibly cheap even on pay-as-you-go.

    AFAICT, more-or-less all of RIM's unique selling points have been eradicated over the last few years and all that remains now is "All your data traffic is routed through our servers so if we experience significant downtime - which can and indeed has happened - your smartphone becomes a dumbphone". Not really much of a selling point.

    • by msobkow (48369) on Monday October 17, 2011 @12:39PM (#37740756) Homepage Journal

      To be fair, the free apps are being offered to the consumer market. The enterprise is being given a month of free tech support.

    • by Lucky75 (1265142)

      AFAICT, more-or-less all of RIM's unique selling points have been eradicated over the last few years and all that remains now is "All your data traffic is routed through our servers so if we experience significant downtime - which can and indeed has happened - your smartphone becomes a dumbphone". Not really much of a selling point.

      Compression and security is the selling point of that.

    • RIM is not trying anymore. They lost it a few months ago when their developer base started leaving. First the good developers leave, then the competent ones leave, and all you have left are incompetent developers. From that point, there is no recovery. This pattern happens over and over in failing software companies.
    • by Inda (580031)
      The corporate end users at my place have forgotten about the outages. This issue with "IT" this week involves dupe calendar entries. Next week it'll be expense sheets...

      Celebrities use Blackberries. The kids around here use them because of the status and fashion - they care not for encryption and exchange syncs.

      RIM should have kept their mouths shut and just added minutes or money off the bill.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      They could still pull-out if they used their huge lead in Europe and Asia to fund increased North America development, to get their products in-line with competitors.

      They show... little desire to do that. Instead, they're using their healthy financials in Europe and Asia to mask the soaking they're taking in NA, and even worse, they don't seem to realize that those regions will convert to Android or iOS for the exact same reasons Americans have. Just... in another year or two.

      They have the same problem Sony

  • If a service provider's service fails, shouldn't they refund you for that month's service fees?
  • ...as everyone tries to grab their free apps at once.
  • How about just switching their phones off the antiquated BES teat and supporting activsync natively like every other phone out there? That would fix their server crashing problem once and for all.

    • The rumor is that the next set of phones using QNX will support ActiveSync. The issue was with BIS, not BES, so I assume that's what you meant.
      • by lazn (202878)

        Yes, noticed the Typo the moment I hit publish.. even preview didn't save me.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm a BB dev, and thanks RIM. Instead of giving a small amount of virtual cash, they have pre-chosen apps for users to choose from. So, my apps don't get any benefit from this giveaway.

    I know that the negotiated price of the $100 free apps will likely only cost RIM 5$ or so. But I would have appreciated RIM giving users 2$ in credit as well to spend anywhere in the store. Then there would be 70 million subscribers with 2$ in their pocket - maybe some of them would buy my apps.

    It seems typical of the tin ear

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