If ever there is a time for a company's comms machine to prove it's worth, it is arguably when something goes wrong. It's all very well pushing out self-congratulatory messages and engaging anyone who'll listen whilst everything is ticking along nicely, but when the proverbial hits the fan? That's when you earn your money...especially in the hyper competitive tech game. How Steve Jobs must have been looking down from his iCloud and laughing at the debacle of the Blackberry outage this week.
The whole sorry affair was a seriously unfortunate event for RIM and left many of its users in the lurch. The Blackberry's main selling point is how good it is for business use (and it is - I love my Blackberry) and for three long days it was as much use for that as the 1998 Nokia 5110 I used in sixth form, and it doesn't have a camouflage clip on cover to soften the blow....
But the worst part of it was RIM's appalling communications during those three days. No information at all was forthcoming, users were completely left in the dark. Nothing useful on the website, no messages sent to phones, no apology, no nothing. And all the while the press had a steady stream of negative Blackberry press to feed off..and boy did they feed.
They were always going to be swimming against the tide, but there wasn't even a hint of an effort from RIM's comms team to try to keep it at bay, or even reassure customers. The result? A further boost to the Apple/HTC smartphone camp and what I suspect may be the first nail in the coffin of the Blackberry as we know it.... Watch this space.