RIM must master basics to arrest slump

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Manufacturer is doing everything to restore confidence in the brand, but service levels are failing following reported faults with its Bold 9900 handset

RIM’S sales slip is still showing.

Talk among dealers and online forums is that the Bold 9900 has been hit with glitches.

Leaving aside October’s three-day blackout, the damage may already have been done months ago.

Q1 results were a horror story, with revenues down 12 per cent to £4.7 billion and profits sliding 9.5 per cent to £695 million. Q2 results piled on the agony as profits fell to £208 million and news broke that 11 per cent of its workforce must go.

The Bold 9900 was the first device to use the BlackBerry 7 system and showed up problems such as turning itself off and failing to restart, an unresponsive touchscreen, Bluetooth connection problems and poor battery life.

The global backlash against the three-day loss of service to millions of users was so bad it forced RIM’s media-averse CEO Mike Lazaridis (pictured) and UK and Ireland MD Stephen Bates to reveal themselves on camera and do public penance.

So a lot is riding on the Bold 9790 and Curve 9380 launches, and Cloud-based music service BBM Music.

The headline numbers don’t look too shabby. The UK base has risen above eight million subscribers of the 165 million BlackBerrys in use worldwide.

There has been a 40 per cent growth in its global subscriber base from 50 million 70 million currently. RIM has also nearly doubled the user base of BlackBerry Messenger users in the past year to 50 million.

So the firm seems to be doing its best to restore faith in the brand with new phones and services.

Regrettably, RIM seems to be failing at the most basic service level. If it can’t get its products to work properly from release, all the hype in the world won’t keep customers loyal.

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