RIM is beginning to face lawsuits over the BlackBerry services outage that hit users across the globe earlier in October.
Research In Motion dealt with its global outage that left
some BlackBerry users without services for days. Now, it seems, the company
will need to deal with the inevitable lawsuits from that incident.
In a lawsuit
filed Oct. 25 with the Quebec Superior Court (No: 500-06-000583-118), a
petitioner is looking to institute a class
action on behalf of BlackBerry users affected by the outage.
"Petitioner contends that, despite the fact that the
Respondent is responsible for BlackBerry users' loss of email, BBM, and/or
Internet service for approximately one (1) and a half (1/2) days, it has not
compensated consumers on a prorated basis for such loss of use," read the
beginning of the lawsuit, "while knowing full well that BlackBerry users pay a
monthly fee to their wireless service providers for data services and that they
were deprived thereof."
The lawsuit demands compensation for "economic damages."
Additionally, it claims that RIM's offer of free apps "does not properly
compensate BlackBerry users who have paid for services that they were unable to
According to Reuters
a man in California has also filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all
BlackBerry owners in the United States, arguing
that the loss of BlackBerry service translated directly into lost revenue. That
case is Eric Mitchell, individually and on behalf of all others similarly
situated, vs. Research In Motion LTD, U.S.
District Court, Central District of California, case no. CV11-8872.
As RIM wrestled to contain the original outage, RIM co-CEOs
Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie insisted on an Oct. 13 conference call with
reporters that the company would work to regain customers' trust following the
On Oct. 17, RIM began offering free BlackBerry apps to ease
customer pain. The initial apps included games such as Sims 3 and N.O.V.A.,
along with Photo Editor Ultimate, iSpeech Translator Pro and Shazam Encore.
The company promised more to come; in addition, enterprise customers were
apparently eligible to receive a month of free technical support, and "current
customers" a complimentary "one-month extension of their existing Technical
The outages smacked RIM at a turbulent moment, with the
company undergoing what its executives refer to as a "transition period." In
the face of declining revenues, RIM is betting big on an upcoming generation of
QNX-based "superphones" that will apparently offer hardware and software parity
with the company's higher-end competitors. Until those devices hit store
shelves, RIM hopes that a new line of BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry
7 OS will help it retain market share, even as Google Android and Apple's iOS
poise an increasing challenge to RIM's traditional user base.
Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter