No, although it does show the weakness of online services in general. Trust in these services are part of a wider consumer flight away from quality:
We listen to music on MP3s that are not comparable to the Sony Discmans of 20 years ago in terms of audio quality
We prefer to watch TV on a laptop screen
Use smartphones that aren't actually that good as a phone, but not bad as a connected PDA
Blackout will encourage many individuals to switch, granted.
However, blackberry has one unique facet with such widespread following and adoration - BBM.
In emerging markets this is particularly strong "pull" for the upwardly mobile middle class en masse and privileged millennials. The switch, can almost be compared to why no one will completely leave Facebook for Google+...their friends, the ones they communicate most to - are not there.
It is playing out differently in India
I am a Blackberry user who switched to Apple a few years ago. Caught in a Storm, as it where. The Blackberry touch phone killed it for me. My iPhone mail signature has ever since been RIP BB.
Blackberry has been a rage in India for the last almost 2 years. Racking up some big numbers among young, upwardly mobile smartphone users. With smartphone shares still in single digits here, you can expect Nokia and BB to continue to show impressive numbers for many more years. Samsung is aiming to be the No 1 smart phone brand here. And Apple lags behind with less than 70,000 shipped in the quarter ending June.
While the RIM outages started in India and the middle east, I think the Indian consumer who is used to day long power black outs and poor service standards across the board will forgive the company and move on. The biggest purchase season, Diwali is just around the corner, October 26th, you can expect RIM executives taking home big bonus cheques home this year for sure...
A few thoughts on BlackBarrier 2011:
All excellent points, hinting to the inevitable... BlackBerry will likely be a takeover target for another handset maker. The distinguishing factor for the BlackBerry brand, even if just for perception's sake, is RIM's behind-the-scenes suite of backoffice tools and support. When that goes dark...for three days, whatever trust and goodwill remains for Crackberry loyalists (I'm among them) begins to dissipate. Quite choice timing to coincide with the first order availabilities of the iPhone 4S on three of RIMs former strongholds and with Motorola's announcement of their Droid Pro+ - that is to the BlackBerry Curve, in the wat that Samsung Galaxy Tab is to the Apple iPad (re: ongoing copycatgate suits).
However, as a increasingly disgruntled corporate BlackBerrier this outage is sparking serious discussions on our company's consideration of iPhones or Android handsets. The choice of apps has long been lackluster and the OS' poor usability takes away from its once minimalist charm.
RIM, if willing to realize that all may not be well in Waterloo (brilliantly apt name for their headquarters at this point), can take corrective action (ie: a custom corporate-oriented build of Android, making their products more surprising or luxurious, and baking in innovative status-focused features that could keep the C-suite set loyal).
If history and RIM's reaction is any indication of future strategy, I would not count on any creative rescue plans soon.
More and more we will see companies adopting a "Choose your own/Bring your own" device policy. (see http://www.pwc.com/us/en/technology-forecast/2011/issue1/editors-message.jhtml for example) The question is, how many employees are likely to bring or choose the Blackberry, given the technological advances in iOS and Android devices over the past couple of years? I suggest that the answer to this is "not many". The little tiny keyboards and two-thumb typing have faded from "cool" to "ponderous". This recent service outage will only hasten the inevitable.
Despite their low adoption of app-enabled devices and rich multimedia, the lock RIM has always had in the business environment is their embedded enterprise-grade security, but with new technology (such as 3LM) available for Android, IT managers suddenly find that they have choices. For way too long, we have accepted the idea that we have to carry two devices around - one Blackberry for work and one "cool" device for personal use, be it an iPhone or HTC. Now that other manufacturers are catching up to RIM on security, the inevitable end of this "two device syndrome" was on its way. The recent outage will only accelerate that and the demise of RIM is only a matter of time.
Blackberry's service and handsets is the technological equivalent of the word processing machines still popular in the 1990s: it's strength is text entry, not modern (pocket) computer processing or rich-internet connectivity. It's market share is also decreasing.
Regardless, there are professions based completely in text systems (e.g. attorneys) and people unwilling to move to modern smart phones due to concerns over cost and complexity. While Blackberry's market share is dropping they continue to grow each year, my guess is growth is exactly in these segments.
I think market share isn't an indicator of true growth in the mobile handset business because there's so much potential. Unfortunately, I have to agree that these outages may erode crucial support for the product and associated services from their most entrenched customers.
I believe that will be determined by how quickly they resolve the situation and how they respond to users. If they are authentic in their response and effective in their solution to the problem, they will live to die another day. If they show arrogance and botch the fix/resolution...it could be the beginning of the end. Other mobile companies have corrected and resurrected themselves.
Yes. Actually the users have wanted it for a long time but corporate policies have kept them on the Blackberry. This has been losing ground due to personal preference and now that the service is down there is a business reason. The outage will expedite their failure.
There issue really is that they tied their brand to email and not online (web, email, etc). Pretty good graph of their future here: http://antipaper.net/comscore-over-the-last-year-android-pummels-apple-and-blackberry-in-smartphone-supremacy-race/
Time to rename the Company GRIM.