BlackBerry freebie: RIM apps to placate for outage

Research In Motion says it will give BlackBerry owners over $100 in free "premium apps" to thank customers for their "patience."

Don Reisinger
Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
2 min read

Research In Motion is turning to its BlackBerry App World to try to make things right with customers who were affected by last week's BlackBerry service outage.

According to the company, BlackBerry owners will soon be able to download over $100 in free "premium" applications, which will be available through the end of the year. The applications include Sims 3, iSpeech Translator Pro, and Shazam Encore, among others. Enterprise users will also be given one month of free technical support from RIM.

In a statement, RIM said that the free apps are a token of its appreciation for customer patience.

"We are grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers for their patience," RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said in a statement today. "We have apologized to our customers and we will work tirelessly to restore their confidence. We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again."

RIM's troubles started last week when the company's services, including e-mail and BlackBerry messaging, went down across the world. After a few days, the company was finally able to get its services back online. But by then, the damage was done, and many users around the globe started complaining.

To help quell the unrest, Lazaridis posted a video on RIM's site apologizing for the outage, saying that the company failed its customers.

"Since launching BlackBerry in 1999, it's been my goal to provide reliable real-time communications around the world," Lazaridis said in the video. "We did not deliver on that goal this week--not even close. I apologize for the service outages this week. We've let many of you down."

But whether or not free applications will be able to make up for the outage remains to be seen. Millions of people around the globe rely upon RIM's BlackBerry services, and for some folks, those services were out for more than a day. Whether or not customers will be willing to stick with RIM's devices after this incident is very much up in the air.

RIM's free apps will start being rolled out on Wednesday. The company says that it will be offering the "premium" apps over a period of four weeks.