RIM speaks on user defections: Buy our new stuff

RIM has responded to allegations that a significant number of its enterprise customers plan to defect from the BlackBerry platform in 2012, suggesting that they're probably unhappy because they're not using the latest models from its range. The Canadian company has not had a chance to review the EMA findings – which discovered 30-percent of businesses with 10,000 or more BlackBerry users intend to ditch the platform next year – it said, but "would be interested in finding out" whether those questioned were using BlackBerry 7 phones on Enterprise Server v5.0.3.

"These are the fastest, most powerful BlackBerry smartphones yet" RIM points out, "and we encourage comparisons with these current BlackBerry smartphones vs earlier models." The current range includes the BlackBerry Torch 9850, Torch 9810 and Bold 9900, each of which debuted back in August.

Newer phones may address user frustration with BlackBerry – the survey found just 14-percent of enterprise users questioned were happy with their devices, versus 44-percent of those with iPhones – but neither hardware nor RIM's Enterprise Server software can save businesses from the sort of downtime experienced last week. That outage spoiled a 99.97-percent uptime record built up over the past 18 months, co-CEO Mike Lazaridis pointed out in a post-mortem conference call, but embarrassingly coincided with Apple's iOS 5 release and the launch of iMessage, a rival to BlackBerry Messenger.

Whether RIM's sales-speak statement will be sufficient to win back the trust of enterprise users – along with the month of free technical support they've been offered as partial compensation for the outage – is questionable. The company announced BBX, its next-gen platform for phones and tablets, earlier this week, but has given little detail as to whether the software will be offered to existing devices.

RIM Statement:

"While we haven't reviewed Enterprise Management Associates' latest survey, we would be interested in finding out if the customers surveyed have upgraded to RIM's new line-up of BlackBerry 7 smartphones such as the all-touch BlackBerry Torch 9850; the BlackBerry Torch 9810 touch screen with slide-out keyboard; the new BlackBerry Bold 9900; or the new BlackBerry Curve. These are the fastest, most powerful BlackBerry smartphones yet and we encourage comparisons with these current BlackBerry smartphones vs earlier models. We also encourage our CIO customers to upgrade their organizations' BlackBerry deployments with the latest version of RIM's market-leading BlackBerry Enterprise Server (version 5.0.3). BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.3 is required to support the latest BlackBerry devices, includes time-saving capabilities for IT departments, and features BlackBerry Balance technology supporting the secure use of a single company-owned or employee-owned BlackBerry smartphone for both work and personal. Customers can find out more about the latest line-up of BlackBerry 7 devices and the many advanced features of BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0.3 at www.blackberry.com."