RIM's Free-App Peace Offering Gets Booed
Research in Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) attempts to appease millions of disgruntled BlackBerry owners with free apps fell on deaf investor ears on Monday when its stock slid more than 6%, mounting on losses caused by last week’s days-long global service outage.
The Canadian smartphone maker said it will be offering certain premium apps – such as Texas Hold’em Poker 2, Sims 3, Bejeweled and Vlingo Plus – free of charge on its BlackBerry App World to subscribers from Wednesday until Dec. 31.
RIM said the apps hold a combined value of $100. The company is also offering customers one month free of technical support.
The free gifts were intended to be an expression of appreciation by RIM for customer’s patience during what ended up being the company’s largest-ever service disruption last week. However, investors seemed unimpressed by its attempted peace offering, and its stock saw its steepest sell-off in a month.
The outages began with a switch failure in London last Monday that extended into across five continents before finally being contained Thursday morning. The distruptions left 10 of millions of BlackBerry customers without access to Internet and email for days.
RIM co-chief and founder Mike Lazaridis has apologized numerous times to customers and said the company will investigate the matter to ensure it does not happen again.
The disruptions added to a growing pile of problems faced by RIM as it struggles to compete with larger rivals Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and cling to the No. 3 spot in the smartphone sector.
Apple said on Monday that sales of its newly released iPhone 4S surpassed four million in the first three days of sales, the most ever for any iPhone launch, as customers tried to get their hands on the smartphone during its premier on Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S).