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This week’s outage for BlackBerry services has seriously damaged consumers’ perception of the smartphone brand, a study reveals.

The interruption to BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and push email solution began on Monday after a fault at its data centre in Slough left million across the globe without the highly rated services that are a key selling point of the messaging mobiles.

RIM was unable to issue a fix for three days, sparking a consumer storm on social networking sites from piqued enterprise and mass-market users.

Until now, however, the damage the meltdown had done to RIM’s reputation had been hard to quantify. Not any more.

In a poll of BlackBerry owners conducted by PriceRunner, 63 per cent said they would seriously consider switching phones to another brand in the wake of the problems.

A small note of consolation for the phone manufacturer is that among these just two per cent are keen on owning an iPhone, with 49 per cent of the sample saying they are still too expensive.

Alison Guise, MD at PriceRunner, said: “There’s no doubt that recent issues with Blackberry servers have deterred potential buyers, we’re now seeing a whole range of innovative and advanced phones in the market.

“With so much choice, consumers are able to take their pick and get a phone that really suits them – rather than defaulting to an iPhone.”

News of the findings comes amid renewed murmings from activist shareholders for a change in RIM’s corporate structure and fresh criticism over the direction taken by the company’s joint CEOs.

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