BlackBerry services around the world operated at normal levels Friday. Research In Motion completed restoration work on the company's network infrastructure just hours after RIM co-founder Mike Lazaridis apologized to BlackBerry smartphone users in a video posted at the company's Web site Thursday.
Still, industry observers say RIM needs to undertake several measures to regain its former reputation as a provider of highly reliable and secure mobile services.
"RIM has faced outages in the past, but never on such a large scale and not for so long," said IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo. "This outage harms BlackBerry's brand reputation and raises a number of questions that RIM needs to address."
Many multinational companies, governments, police forces and private individuals adopted the BlackBerry because the phones were generally perceived as the best e-mail and messaging mobile service.
"During the 9/11 terrorist attacks, BlackBerrys were the only handsets working [in New York City]," Jeronimo said. "And after the disaster the American government and police forces adopted BlackBerrys as their primary handsets."
However, the BlackBerry platform's brand status as a solid and secure platform was blown away by this week's unprecedented outage, which swept through Europe, the Middle East and Africa beginning Monday, spread to some Latin American countries and India on Tuesday, and extended into North America on Wednesday.
"The question that corporations, mobile operators, and users are now asking [is] how reliable is RIM's infrastructure, architecture and service," Jeronimo said.
The worldwide outage was caused by a core switch failure at the company's network operation center at Slough in the United Kingdom, according to Jeronimo. To rebuild its brand reputation, the BlackBerry maker needs to explain why it took so long to replace a broken switch as well as why the "fail safe" backup switch didn't work, he said.
What's more, the BlackBerry maker will need to explain why North American users were also affected -- even though RIM maintains a different network operations center covering its customers in North America.
"It shouldn't have happened," Jeronimo said. "What is needed to restore market confidence is a clear explanation of what happened and some kind of reassurance that it won't happen again." (continued...)