During late summer of 2010, BlackBerry faced a near-crisis in the Middle East and Asia. Governments in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and, among others, India, threatened to cut off BlackBerry services if the company’s manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM) did not allow them access to messaging information.
On August 1 2010, the government in the UAE announced a cut-off of BlackBerry services on October 11 if a data sharing agreement could not be reached with RIM. BlackBerry’s Index score on August 1 was +73, making it one of the strongest brands in the UAE Telecom Sector. However, by September 2, BlackBerry’s Index score in the UAE had fallen to +38
The brand’s Buzz score, which is generally very positive, had fallen from +71 to -26 by the end of August 2010. Throughout August, BlackBerry users waited nervously as negotiations between the UAE government & RIM appeared deadlocked. In a concurrent YouGov Siraj Omnibus survey regarding the impending ban, two-thirds of UAE respondents believed the ban would occur as stated as reflected in the steady decline of BrandIndex scores for the brand.
Throughout September, slow recovery in sentiment was evident. A threatened ban in Saudi Arabia during August failed to materialise, and rumours began to circulate in the press that the UAE ban might similarly not happen. A turning point was reached around September 20 when consumer beliefs began to reflect sentiment in local news outlets that the ban probably would not occur.
On October 10, BlackBerry had an Index score of +53. The same day, the government officially announced that it had come to terms with RIM and would not proceed with a service ban the next morning.
By the beginning of November, roughly three weeks after the ban was averted, BlackBerry had returned to pre-crisis levels with an Index score of +70. All trace of the crisis has been erased with scores for BlackBerry now tracking within historically normal levels.