Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of BlackBerry, is
offering classic games such as Bejeweled and The Sims to users for free in
compensation for a four-day service blackout.
BlackBerry subscribers will be able to download more than
$100 worth of games, productivity tools and more until the end of the year, RIM
said in a statement announcing the giveaway.
“We are grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers for their
patience,” said Mike Laziridis, co-CEO of RIM. “We have apologized… and we will
work tirelessly to restore their confidence.”
The 11 downloads will be available on BlackBerry App World until
Dec. 31, and RIM said more would become available over the coming weeks.
Business customers are also being offered a free month of
technical support. Those who already have a support contract will be offered a
month of Blackberry's enhanced support service.
RIM was blasted by critics over its sluggish communication
response to customer complaints during this disruption – the worst since an
outage swept North America two years ago.
Users from Delhi to Dubai took to Twitter to complain over the
blackout, which began in Europe and the Middle East and spread later to North
America, RIM’s largest market.
Analysts warned the company may face compensation claims
from network operators as well as reputational damage to its brand.
“This has been such a high-profile outage and everyone knows
it’s not the operators’ fault but RIM’s fault,” said Ben Wood, an analyst at
CCS Insight in London. “The big challenge for the operators is that it’s cost
them a lot in terms of managing the problem.”
UAE telcos Etisalat and du and Doha-based Qtel said they
would compensate BlackBerry customers for the network failure.
Vodafone Group, the world’s largest mobile-phone operator,
is reviewing its options regarding compensation, spokesman Simon Gordon said.
RIM said the delays were caused by a core switch failure
within its infrastructure. While the system is designed to transfer to a backup
switch, that didn’t happen, it said. The result was a large backlog of data.
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