While the disruption to the BlackBerry service is an unfortunate event for RIM, there are wider and more important issues which the company faces. These include capitalising on its growth in the consumer market, maintaining its stronghold in the enterprise, and updating its software platform to cope with increasing competition from Apple, Android and Window Phone.
In its press conference yesterday David Yach, the CTO (chief technology officer) of software for RIM, claimed that the impact to its services in North America were not from further failures within its network, but rather from the backlog of email traffic from the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region. While this may be little consolation to users, it does allay fears that the problems might be more widespread than first thought.
This is the first major disruption to the BlackBerry service since 2009, during which time the number of BlackBerry users has doubled. However, this period of sustained downtime will again call into question RIM’s reliance on its centralised network architecture. Despite the benefits the network brings in real-time delivery of email and data efficiency, it remains significant risk for the company.
The widely reported issues that users have been experiencing with the Apple iOS 5 update process further illustrate how no system is flawless. Given that the reputation of the BlackBerry service built upon reliability and timeliness, any disruption to its service will undoubtedly impact the perception of the company and its products to a greater extent than its competitors. It is a testament to the success and ubiquity of the BlackBerry service how widely this disruption is being felt, both across business and consumer users.
Comment by Nick Dillon, Analyst – Devices & Platforms at Ovum