BlackBerry users offered free apps as compensation for service failure
BLACKBERRY users are to be offered free app downloads as compensation for the failure of their internet service for more than three days last week.
RIM, the Canadian firm behind the smartphone brand, said the apps are worth more than $100 (€73), but the offer received a mixed reception from users.
Initially, 12 free downloads are available with “more to come”, RIM said today. The list includes games such as Sims 3 and Bejeweled, as well as a photo editor, speech translator and other more serious apps.
The free apps are aimed at consumer BlackBerry users. Corporate customers - who were also affected by the collapse of RIM’s BlackBerry Internet Service network in Europe, the Middle East and Africa last Monday - are to be offered a month of free technical support.
Mike Lazaridis, the founder and co-CEO of RIM, again apologised for the outage, which lasted into Thursday and left millions without access to email, instant messaging and web browsing.
“We have apologized to our customers and we will work tirelessly to restore their confidence,” he said
“We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again.”
On Friday British mobile operators were considering if they should follow the example of the Etisalat network in the United Arab Emirates, which announced that its subscribers would get three days of free mobile internet access.
Industry sources said that complex service level agreements with corporate customers were slowing the decision-making process.
Many BlackBerry users appeared unimpressed by RIM’s own compensation scheme.
“So Blackberry are going to give me £65 of useless apps for me not to be able to run them on their s--- software!,” said Twitter user Nick Edmunds, a sales manager from London.
“Off to Samsung or iPhone4S,” he added.
Some noted that RIM’s app store has been unsuccessful compared to Apple’s or Google’s, and saw criticised the compensation scheme as a way to promote it.
The full list of free apps comprises Sims 3, Bejeweled, NOVA, T 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.