RIM UK boss Stephen Bates admits criticism over recent system failures was fair but says BlackBerry will not lose market share to Apple as a result
Research In Motion (RIM) UK and Ireland managing director Stephen Bates says the company deserved the criticism levelled at it by the media and its customers, following the catastrophic crashing of its systems.
“These issues have absolutely not been blown out of proportion. If anything we’ve welcomed the amount of media coverage we’ve received. This has been a great opportunity for us to accept and understand where we’ve failed and apologise. We’re not sitting idly by and will do whatever is necessary to ensure the service operates to the high levels of availability we’ve previously seen,” he told Mobile News.
“We have an unprecedented track record of reliability. Our focus is on providing the best communications experience and the feedback we get from our customers is we normally deliver on that. BlackBerry is about the ultimate communications platform. There is a market for that, people see the value in it and will choose that over other platforms,” he continued.
Yet Bates (pictured) dismissed the notion of BlackBerry losing share to Apple in the UK market due to the recent technical issues, insisting it is selling more devices in the corporate sector than ever before.
The claim comes despite the release of the iPhone 4S on October 14, four days after BlackBerry began experiencing outage problems. Customers lost access to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), email and browsing services, caused by a fault at a data centre in Slough.
RIM CTO for software David Yach has now been tasked with reassessing the company’s infrastructure to check if there are any other points that need to be changed to ensure reliability of the network is maintained.
RIM claimed BlackBerry remains the number one smartphone by choice in the UK, with over seven million users and, according to official figures for the month of September, held a total market share of 15.9 per cent, second only to Samsung.
Bates said a defining reason behind BlackBerry fending off the iPhone continues to be due to its more advanced social networking capabilities with the imminent launch of BBM Music playing a key role in proving this to users.
“Our sales and share within the corporate market has grown and we’re selling even more devices into that space than we have done before. Our corporate customers understand the situation and are very loyal to us. We must clarify the situation to them but the fundamental reasons why they choose BlackBerry hasn’t changed.
“We’re trying to make applications social, something that resonates strongly with the customer base that chooses BlackBerry over the other platforms. We’re on the verge of launching BBM Music, enabling users to share 50 songs with their friends. Nobody else comes close to that.
“Within many games, users can also interact with each other and that shows the level of integration we have within the application space. BlackBerry has been the most dominant of the social networking platforms in the mobile arena. We’re currently in the process of rolling-out our new BlackBerry 7 range and the feedback has been fantastic.”
RIM’s track record of network availability in the UK, which Bates said averaged 99.97 per cent over the past 18 months, will go a long way to restoring full confidence in its customer base that it remained the “ultimate communications platform”.