RIM CEO Apologizes for BlackBerry Outages

After four days of outages affecting millions of BlackBerry users, Research in Motion (RIM) CEO apologized and tried to explain the situation. In a video "Service Update" message, Mike Lazaridis said little about the technical problems, which elsewhere were described as a hardware failure (a core switch) within its network.

Although the video lacked detail and made no promises about when the service issue would be "fully resolved," Lazaridis delivered an emotional appeal:

"I apologize for the service outages this week. We've let many of you down. But let me assure you that we're working around the clock to fix this. You expect better from us, and I expect better from us."

Lazaridis also acknowledged, "We know that you want to hear more from us."

No surprise, public reaction was vehement. After all, people have been resorting to using the telephone and (horror!) the fax machine. Some of the more than 10,000 Facebook comments compliment BlackBerry's previous service, others bash the iPhone, but many vent their frustration:

BlackBerry frustration

In April, Lazaridis was in the news for his emotional reaction during a BBC interview. In July, the company announced layoffs. Clearly, the outages are another challenge for RIM.

Discussion Starters:

  • In Lazaridis' video, what examples of persuasive strategies do you see? Which do you find most and least effective?
  • Lazaridis didn't give a lot of detail in the video. Do you think this is an appropriate strategy? Why or why not? If not, what could he have done differently?
  • How do you evaluate Lazaridis' delivery skills in the video? What does he do effectively, and where does he fall short?