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BlackBerry aims to placate angry customers after disruptions

The company’s customers will be offered free app downloads after outages left millions without services last week.

Image: DAVE CHIDLEY/AP/Press Association Images

THE MAKERS OF BlackBerry smartphones have launched a bid to rebuild customer relations after days of service outages tried the patience of users on four continents.

Research In Motion announced today that it will offer all BlackBerry subscribers free app downloads “as an expression of appreciation for their patience”. The company has come under fire from aggrieved customers after network problems left millions of users in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India and South America unable to use messaging services or access the internet for several days last week.

Customers took to Twitter in droves to express their frustration, with tweets including: “What did one BlackBerry user say to the other BlackBerry user? Nothing.”

One newspaper survey found that close to 20 per cent of users were considering switching to another brand of phone after the disruption.

Speaking today, RIM CEO Mike Laziridis said: “We are grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers for their patience. We have apologised 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.”

The free apps, which will be available for four weeks from Wednesday, including popular game SIMS 3 and music recognition app Shazam Encore.

“Our global network supports the communications needs of more than 70 million customers,” Lazaridis continued. “We truly appreciate and value our relationship with our customers. We’ve worked hard to earn their trust over the past 12 years, and we’re committed to providing the high standard of reliability they expect, today and in the future.”

Read more: BlackBerry says ‘significant improvement’ in service>

Read more: BlackBerry users consider switching brands>

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Michael Freeman

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