Investors unexcited by BlackBerry's free apps offer

Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:15pm EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - An offer of free games, translation software or other apps to compensate BlackBerry users for last week's prolonged outage left Research In Motion investors cool on Monday, and the shares fell 6 percent.

RIM declined to say if it would need to amend its earnings forecasts to account for the cost of its promise to give $100 of free apps to every BlackBerry smartphone user.

RIM is also offering a period of free technical support to businesses that use the gadget, which has steadily lost market share to Apple's sleeker, sexier iPhone. RIM's stock has dropped 60 percent over the past year.

"RIM has responded swiftly but this won't undo the damage done to its reputation," analyst Geoff Blaber at CCS Insight told Reuters earlier on Monday. "This may go some way to appeasing customers but what's critical is that the problem does not repeat itself."

Highlighting the challenges, Apple said it sold 4 million of its new iPhone 4S in the three days after its launch last week.

Tens of millions of BlackBerry users were left without mobile email and other messaging for up to four days last week after a failure at a RIM data center in England triggered a service disruption across five continents.


RIM may reveal more about its strategy for countering the competitive challenge at a conference for application developers in San Francisco that begins Tuesday.

RIM executives there are expected to unveil a major software upgrade for the PlayBook tablet computer. RIM may also provide a glimpse at next-generation smartphones using its QNX software, which already powers the PlayBook.   Continued...

<p>A woman walks outside Research in Motion's (RIM) headquarters in Slough, southern England October 13, 2011. REUTERS/Olivia Harris</p>