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October 13, 2011

20 percent of BlackBerry users jumping ship: survey

Around a third say this week's outage will force them to look at alternative mobile services

By Steve Evans

Nearly 20% of BlackBerry users are in the process of moving away from the platform, while a further 34% believe they should consider switching to an alternative mobile platform following this week’s massive service outage, a CBR survey has revealed.

In an online survey carried out yesterday CBR polled 307 BlackBerry users, surveyed amongst CBR’s senior IT decision-maker audience.

The results indicate that 18% (56 respondents) said they or their company is already in the process of switching from BlackBerry to another platform such as Apple’s iPhone, Android or Windows Phone.

A further 34% (106 respondents) said they or their company should now consider moving to a different mobile platform following the service disruption this week.

It is not all bad news for BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) as 37% (115 respondents) of users said they would be remaining with the company as their smartphone provider of choice.

RIM’s problems began on Monday when users across the EMEA region began to report issues with web, email and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) services. RIM started to restore services on Tuesday after an outage of around 20 hours, but the service went down again just hours later.

The second outage spread to India, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina and eventually into the US and RIM’s homeland of Canada.

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The company said a core switch failure was to blame and a backup system that was supposed to kick into action failed to do so. The service disruption created a huge backlog of information that is slowly clearing, RIM said.

RIM now says that services should be returning to normal. "In Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, we are seeing a significant increase in service levels. Service levels are also progressing well in the U.S., Canada and Latin America and we are seeing increased traffic throughput on most services, although there are still some delays and services levels may still vary amongst customers," its latest statement reads.

"Our global teams are continuing to work as quickly as possible to restore full and consistent service across all regions," the company added.

Robin Bienfait, RIM CIO apologised to affected customers for the continued service issues. "You’ve depended on us for reliable, real-time communications, and right now we’re letting you down. We are taking this very seriously and have people around the world working around the clock to address this situation. We believe we understand why this happened and we are working to restore normal service levels in all markets as quickly as we can," she said in a letter posted on RIM’s website.

The company did not respond to CBR’s request for a response to our survey results at the time of publication.

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