BlackBerry alive and well - RIM
Duncan Alfreds, News24
Cape Town - Research In Motion (RIM) has come out firing against analysts' statements that the BlackBerry maker was certain to go downhill after the recent outage.
"We're in the fastest growing segment in the fastest growing industry, we have 70 million subscribers; we continue to show growth quarter after quarter," Robert Bose, RIM managing director for Benelux, Central Europe and Africa, told News24.
He said the launch of the BBX operating system (OS) would position BlackBerry and RIM well in the future.
"I think that we are very well positioned now with the advent of BBX coming out, I think we have very, very loyal subscribers who are using services like BBM and I think we're very positioned for the future."
RIM has come under fire from users and analysts for the outage that affected internet and messaging services on the popular device.
Some analysts have suggested that the fallout from the outage could do permanent damage to the BlackBerry brand.
"If the recent problems are not resolved once and for all, consumers and business customers will consider looking for alternatives," said Malik Saadi, principal analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media.
RIM has to work to rebuild customer loyalty, said Bose.
"One of the things that we really need to do is really work to rebuild the trust and the loyalty of our subscribers."
RIM offered subscribers a range of premium applications for free as compensation for the outage.
"The first step in that is the offer that we made on Monday for $100 for free premium applications.
"Now we recognise that that's just the first step. What we really need to do is ensure that we don't have an outage along those lines again," Bose said.
RIM has focused on the new OS which includes elements of QNX, which the company acquired recently.
"BBX is the next generation of mobile operating system for RIM and combines the best of BlackBerry and QNX to provide the next platform for BlackBerry smartphones and tablets," said Rui Brites, RIM director of product management for Africa.
This should give RIM more access to Android developers as the platform could "translate" code from Android to BBX.
"With this new OS [operating system] we are able to leverage some APIs [application programming interfaces] where we are making life easier for the Android community so literally without having to recode specifically for BlackBerry, they've got tools that allow them to submit their application into out App Store that will run on our platform.
"We're opening up a developer community to a larger base of developers that we never had access to before," Brites said.
There are about 50 million BBM users worldwide and there have been rumours that the messaging platform would be opened to other platforms, but RIM shot that down, instead saying that the BBM API was open to developers.
"We've opened up our APIs on BBM which allows developers to literally create specific apps that are linked to BBM," said Brites.
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