很难找到一个恰当的形象来比喻黑莓手机生产商Research in Motion。启斯东警察（The Keystone Kops——默片时代的系列滑稽喜剧电影的主人公，一群笨手笨脚的警察——译注）或许算是一个现成的选择，但RIM的问题并非都是自作自受。《旧约》（The Old Testament）里的约伯（Job）？也不尽然，因为RIM的大多数麻烦都是自找的。穿着启斯东警察制服的约伯？或者也许更准确的比喻是《发展受阻》（Arrested Development）里的高博（Gob，美剧里的一名魔术师，成事不足，败事有余，而且有点异想天开），但却穿着一身启斯东警察的制服。
一开始，RIM将故障归咎于英国斯劳某数据中心出现的设备故障。这座城市正是英国原创电视连续剧《办公室》（The Office）中造纸商Wernham Hogg的一家分公司所在地，也是分公司经理戴维•布伦特的家乡。(好吧，比喻就到此为止)。
It's hard to come up with a good metaphor for Research in Motion. The Keystone Kops is an easy one, but not all of RIM's troubles are of its own making. The Old Testament character Job? Also not quite right, because most of RIM's troubles are of its own making. How about Job in a Keystone Kops uniform? Or even better, Arrested Development's Gob in a Keystone Kops uniform.
This week co-CEO Jim Balsillie, during a speech in Dubai, introduced a new innovation for the company's BlackBerry (RIMM) phone that has been widely ridiculed as not new and not innovative. And soon after his presentation, Dubai and a rather wide area surrounding it -- the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Africa -- was hit with a BlackBerry network outage. Now in its third day, the outage is spreading to North and South America. Early reports on Wednesday said parts of the United States are affected.
At first, the company blamed equipment failure in its facility in Slough, England. That city, of course is home to a branch of the Wernham Hogg paper company from the original British version of The Office, and to its office manager, David Brent. (But enough with the metaphors.)
Before the outage, Balsillie introduced the world to Tag, a feature that allows the sharing of contact info between two phones by tapping them together. Sound familiar? Sure it does. A similar app, though based on a different technology, has been available for both the iPhone and Android phones for years now. Even worse, the feature on those phones was never particularly popular.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg News is reporting that the outage problem must be solved quickly because of a mounting data backup. If it isn't resolved soon, RIM might have to sacrifice some customer data - that is, emails and whatnot -- to fix the problem. Just the thing investors want to hear.
Still, the stock is trading about even as of midday Wednesday. Investors might see all this trouble as a sign that something big will happen sooner rather than later -- new leadership, or maybe a takeover. In any case, it's clear that something needs to happen.