RIM’s rough year hasn’t gotten any better this week. The company was forced to delay the implementation of the feature for which it is known best–e-mail–from its Playbook tablet as it also faced the possibility of having to defend itself against a possible class-action suit stemming from the three-day BlackBerry outage a few weeks back.
You sort of have to feel bad for the company at some point. The Playbook, which isn’t exactly selling all that well, has lacked a connection to RIM’s trademark BlackBerry e-mail service ever since it launched, forcing Playbook users with BlackBerry smartphones to download an app called BlackBerry Bridge (which AT&T actually blocked for a whilev) in order to read their e-mail on their tablets. That was supposed to be taken care of with the release of Playbook OS 2.0, but RIM announced Tuesday that it would delay that release until February 2012. That also pushes support for Android applications out much further than originally expected.
In addition, Playbook owners still won’t be able to use the popular BlackBerry Messenger service when the 2.0 version arrives, RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) announced in delaying the software. It promised to add that in at a later date but didn’t specify when. It’s now a little confusing as to how RIM will roll out the BBX update (also scheduled for early next year) it discussed last week at BlackBerry DevCon to Playbook owners if it’s planning to release the Playbook 2.0 version in February.
If vision was RIM’s problem over the last few years, execution has been its downfall this year. The next-generation BlackBerry handsets did not arrive on time, the Playbook update has been promised for months yet won’t arrive until 2012, and perhaps worst of all, a three-day outage in RIM’s service led to user outcry, lost customers, and an expensive $100 app giveaway to every BlackBerry owner.
And the fallout from that outage might not be over. Canada’s Financial Post reported Wednesday that RIM is facing a lawsuit in Canada seeking class-action status related to the outage. Further compensation for the outage has been a hot topic among consumers and businesses.
When the Canadians start to turn on RIM, you know things are getting bad.