The prolonged outage that has left many BlackBerry users without email or mobile web for several days could have a long-term impact on RIM's reputation with business users, UK IT chiefs have warned.
RIM says it has now restored normal service to the BlackBerry network following this week's outage, the largest the company has experienced, and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis acknowledged that RIM would be working very hard to win back the trust of BlackBerry users.
However, RIM could have a tough job ahead of it to win back the trust of business users, according to silicon.com's CIO Jury.
When asked, 'Do you think the BlackBerry outage will permanently damage RIM's reputation among business customers?' the CIO Jury voted yes by a margin of eight to four.
Richard Lovelock, head of IT at The Royal British Legion, said: "I think RIM's serious three-day-plus outage, of what for many businesses are essential email and messaging services, is likely to remain in the IT industry's short-term memory for a number of years, which can only put doubts in people's minds over RIM's long-term future to handle such traffic."
He added: "In my opinion, this is likely to make many enterprise users consider the Apple and Android solutions, even though RIM's enterprise architecture and security is arguably still the best on paper."
Rene Batsford, head of ICT at food retailer EAT, said RIM needs to "quickly improve their infrastructure and proactively manage and invest in the infrastructure supporting the growth of the business".
Batsford added: "I think another sustained outage would make CIOs and IT industry captains rethink their next move. Many businesses are in contract and it would probably prove more problematic getting out of those. For those coming to the end of their cycle, they might consider platforms such as Android, as EAT did."
But, he added: "Ask most business users and they will tell you that as a no-frills solid mobile and messaging handset, BlackBerry is still one of the best devices out there and this is mainly down to battery life, BBM and the keyboard. Sometimes the simple approach is best!"
Not all CIOs thought the damage to RIM's reputation was that great, pointing out that other technology providers have had outages, and often more regularly than RIM.
Others feel that although the outage is a problem, RIM's devices still have...
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Steve Ranger is the UK editor-in-chief of ZDNet and TechRepublic. An award-winning journalist, Steve writes about the intersection of technology, business and culture, and regularly appears on TV and radio discussing tech issues. Previously he was the editor of silicon.com.