It seems as if Research In Motion
Fellow Fool Evan Niu went over the "I'm sorry" package yesterday, but it's basically a $100 bundle of free downloads, including Electronic Arts'
In terms of historical apologies, this isn't quite on the scale of Kobe Bryant's $4 million diamond ring for his wife after his ill-advised tryst, but it's better than a slick Don Draper denial.
Free downloads have been the apology of choice lately. Sony
Downloads are easy gifts. They can be redeemed immediately. Digital goodies are cheaper to deliver than physical goods. Developers also likely give the gifting companies great rates for the shot at wide audience penetration.
However, this doesn't mean that this is worth $100 to any of RIM's frustrated BlackBerry owners. Unless someone was bent on buying all 12 apps, this is not a $100 gift.
It probably doesn't matter, since we all know that RIM is a dead smartphone maker walking.
Sure, it has 70 million BlackBerry accounts. However, revenue and earnings staged larger than expected declines in its latest quarter. Apple
If corporate IT departments are hesitant to relinquish BlackBerry control to iOS or Android, nerd darling Microsoft
In the end, the apology and the parting gifts are irrelevant. Even if RIM were giving away free PlayBook tablets -- and don't go getting any ideas, RIM -- it wouldn't undo the damage and the lousy timing of last week's wide-reaching outage. The event simply validates the reasons for BlackBerry owners to bail when their contracts run out.
Free apps or not, these stomachs are still grumbling.