RIM's BlackBerry foul-up could prove fatal

BlackBerry's recent service outage has seriously affected consumers' view of the brand, at a time when is under inreasing threat from Apple's iPhone and the Android upstart.

According to a quick online survey by pollsters YouGov, the BlackBerry has seen a pronounced decline in overall quality and satisfaction rates, with users now less likley to stick with the habit.

Findings from YouGov’s Smartphone, Mobile Internet eXperience study conducted in September revealed that two thirds of BlackBerry users rated BlackBerry 8, 9 or 10 for overall quality on a ten-point scale.

Just a month later quality rates have declined by nine percentage points. Similarly for overall satisfaction, the brand saw an eight-point reduction.

In October's sampling, only 57 per cent of BlackBerry users would consider getting a BlackBerry again, compared to 69 per cent from September's study

Some 69 per cent of BlackBerry users still think the handsets are “good", however, and over half (52 per cent) disagree with the proposition that “BlackBerry phones are no longer reliable”

Russell Feldman, the consultant that led the research said RIM's handling of the blackout "has severely undermined confidence amongst consumers and while they may be forgiving once, if it happens again the brand could find itself in serious trouble."

According to Feldman: "The emergence and popularity of Android devices is seriously starting to challenge BlackBerry’s share of the market, and with the iPhone starting to focus in on the business market, BlackBerry could soon lose out. One only has to look at Nokia’s case study to see what happens when a company fails to invest and gets left behind the technology curve."

YouGov said it's sample size was 1,136 BlackBerry owners, polled in an online suvery conducted between the 13th and 16th October 2011.