Well it’s been a bad few days for RIM this week (and I dare say a difficult time for a fair few IT depts in law firms as a result). And it looks like it isn’t just contained to EMEA either, reports suggest a spread to the US now.
A few things spring to mind off this:
1) It’s going to be one heck of a case study for IT service failure. From the technology that failed, the (lack of) disaster recovery and what resilience was built into a critical system through to studies into how not to manage an incident (the failure in communicating to customers etc). No matter how much redundancy you put in place we know things like this do happen in IT. But for your core product, in RIM’s case, there seems to have been no contingency (although in the aftermath this may end up being something truly unavoidable) and worse still no method of communicating good up to date information to the customer in place. It’s even worse when you consider the mainstream 24hr news services have been carrying the story and would have surely loved to broadcast comment and updates direct from RIM.
2) It’s a real kick in the teeth for cloud computing. Another provider (Office 365 outage, Amazon outage, Google Apps/Mail outage, Apple MobileMe outage) suffering a major outage and thus clients seeing service outages for their own customers.
3) In the corporate email and smartphone arena it’s a big bonus for Apple, Google and Microsoft. The other three key competitors in the smartphone arena. Also for services like Good Technologies who provide app based email solutions for enterprise.
RIM were on the back foot as it was, their main benefit over their rivals was enterprise strength email solutions (although personally I don’t buy into the whole BlackBerry is less of a risk that ActiveSync type technologies argument, but there you go). This reputation though has been dealt a big blow with this incident and they’re going to need some excellent PR work and customer deals to stop a desertion of the enterprise to rivals.
There are plenty of lawyers that use Apple or Android devices already (more so outside the UK), and now Windows Phone has a release that puts it on a par with the others. So at the moment it seems like RIM’s days are numbered.