Should RIM find a way to compensate owners after the outage?

Published: October 13, 2011

If you were perusing the Internet over the last couple of days, then you probably saw at one point or another that RIM was facing a huge outage. While it started off “small” enough, it quickly grew into something that Research In Motion wasn’t going to get under control, or so it seemed. Basically, it got a lot worse before it got better. Now, as of the time of this writing, RIM has come forward and announced that the outage has been taken care of, and services have been completely restored across the globe. Great news, right? Well, some seem to think that it could spell a lot more dooms day scenarios for the Waterloo-based company. If that is the case, then I can’t help but wonder if RIM should be reaching out to their customers, offering something for the outage.

People expect there to be service. Yes, we all know that outages happen, and every single person out there should be aware that technology can do some pretty crazy things seemingly for no reason whatsoever. Now, we don’t know the full details as to what happened with the BIS, but we know it went down, was down for more than fifteen seconds, and now it’s back up. Unfortunately for Research In Motion, when the BIS goes down there are a lot of people affected by it. And considering RIM’s continued presence and focus in the mobile market, a lot of those people actually need BIS to work, and to work well. So when there’s an outage, it isn’t just an inconvenience, but an actual damper on their work and day-to-day essentials.

So should RIM compensate for the loss? Even if the “casual” BlackBerry owner didn’t notice the outage (which I doubt), there are still the majority of users out there who did notice it. Even outside of the wildfire-like way the news spread across the Internet, if you have a BlackBerry in your hand and you actually use it, then you noticed the outage. We’ve seen outages in the past, and sometimes they’re huge. Carrier outages happen, whether its voice, data, or voice and data, they happen and people just have to accept that. But usually the carrier has technicians on the ball and the event is fixed quickly. While I would say that RIM fixed the BIS outage pretty quickly, some people don’t think it was fast enough.

So, if RIM was actually going to follow in the steps of, say, Sony, where would the compensation come from? Obviously RIM’s not just going to send you some cash, or even a check, because I imagine that it would be hard for the manufacturer to figure out just when your service stopped, how much you use that service on a day-to-day basis, and how much to compensate you for during the outage. That’s way too complicated, and no one wants to go through that just to get something like a dollar and 15 cents.  So what else could RIM do to make it up to all those owners out there?

In truth, the fact that RIM got the BIS back up and running so quickly would tell me that RIM is absent of this conversation. Or, should be absent of this conversation. But I’ve seen people talking about it. And I can understand where the business person is coming from, where BIS means the difference between receiving an important email and not receiving that important email. I don’t think that the BIS outage, unless it becomes a serious repeated issue over several months, is the final nail in RIM’s coffin quite yet, but it’s definitely not good news by any means. Should RIM find a way to alleviate everyone’s anger? It would be a step in the right direction for the company, sure, but I imagine that they’ve got other things on their mind at this point in time.

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