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Will $100 in Free Apps Make Up for the BlackBerry Outage?

No service discount, but free Sims 3!
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Last Thursday, as more than three days of worldwide BlackBerry service outages finally came to an end, there was one topic that seemed to be foremost in everyone’s minds: How would RIM compensate its millions of affected customers?

In a conference call announcing that systems were being restored, RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie attempted to avoid the issue, telling reporters, “That is something we are now turning our attention to,” and “This kind of discussion was not the priority.”

But finally, early this morning, RIM announced its solution: “As an expression of appreciation for their patience during the recent service disruptions,” the company will offer its subscribers “a selection of premium apps” worth more than $100. Yes, apps.

For four weeks beginning on Oct. 19, BlackBerry users will be able to download titles like Bejeweled, Texas Hold’em Poker 2, and Shazam Encore at no cost. But even a free download of Siri-esque voice-recognition app Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant might not keep customers from jumping ship to Apple, so RIM is throwing in a free month of Technical Support (existing Technical Support subscribers will get an additional month added to their contract, while those without a contract will get a trial month).

Whether RIM customers will be sated by bunch of free apps remains to be seen, but maybe a few hours playing Sims 3 will temporarily distract them from their lost time and money.