US and Canadian subscribers sue RIM over Blackberry service outage

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US and Canadian subscribers sue RIM over Blackberry service outage

Warwick Ashford

Blackberry maker Research in Motion (RIM) is facing legal action by consumers in the US and Canada for the three-day services outage in mid-October caused by a core switch failure in RIM's infrastructure.

Millions of Blackberry users were unable to access e-mails, browse or use Blackberry's instant messaging service, Blackberry Messenger (BBM), when a three-day services outage hit Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa, before spreading to the US and Canada.

The legal action comes despite apologies from RIM's CIO Robin Bienfait and an offer to Blackberry enterprise customers of one month's free technical support in compensation for the outage.

For consumers, RIM said it will be offering a package of premium applications worth a total value of over $100 for free, including a selection of games.

The US lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in the federal court in Santa Ana, California, was brought on behalf of all US Blackberry owners with an active service agreement at the time of the outage, , according to Reuters.

The lawsuit accuses RIM of breach of contract, negligence and unjust enrichment. The RIM lawsuit seeks damages including cash compensation for service fees along with attorneys' fees and legal expenses.

Similarly, the Canadian lawsuit, also filed on Wednesday in Quebec Superior Court, was brought on behalf of all Canadian Blackberry owners with an active service agreement.

 

The lawsuit says RIM must take full responsibility for the loss of service to Blackberry users.

At the time of the outage, Malik Kamal-Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, predicted compensation for Blackberry users could cost RIM around $100m - up to $12m per day of the outages - plus account liability fees and other related legal costs.

The disruption to global services has caused businesses to rethink their usage and reliance on Blackberry smartphones, due to the single point of failure within RIM's network and IT infrastructure.


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