BlackBerry Outages Could Sway Customers To iPhone

This week's massive outages for BlackBerry couldn't come at a worse time for the company that makes the phone. It is trying to regain a foothold in the smartphone market. Also this week, competitor Apple releases a new iPhone Friday.

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And those trying to get information on their BlackBerry smartphones have had trouble. In another black eye for the BlackBerry, a service outage disrupted email and messaging in Europe for three days. It spread to Asia and the U.S. While service is returning, the outages couldn't come at a worse time. NPR's Sonari Glinton explains.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: The trouble with Research in Motion, or RIM, the company that makes the BlackBerry, started long before this week's service trouble. RIM had been the leader in the smartphone world.

LANCE ULANOFF: And it really ceded that by not innovating fast enough.

GLINTON: Lance Ulanoff is editor at Mashable.com, a company that tracks all things technology related. He says with Apple releasing its new iPhone Friday, RIM can't afford to be making mistakes.

ULANOFF: It's really going to kindle that fire to walk away from RIM, which is not what this company needs. You know, RIM needs people to stick with BlackBerry. It needs companies to trust it.

GLINTON: Ulanoff says companies, and especially their IT departments, have flocked to BlackBerries because they're cheap and easy to support. But...

ULANOFF: Businesses rely on getting things done wherever they are. So if you've got a bunch of businesspeople out in the world with their BlackBerry smartphones and they cannot send and receive email, they're not doing business, they're going to be frustrated with BlackBerry and they're going to start looking for other options.

GLINTON: Ulanoff says Apple and its iPhone are working hard to become that alternative for business users. Sonari Glinton, NPR News.

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