BlackBerry Outage Affects Millions of Users

A disastrous 36 hours for Blackberry has left millions of customers disgruntled and angry due to service failures that occurred on Monday and Tuesday.

By Monday afternoon, thousands of Blackberry users found that they could no longer send emails, BBMs or access applications such as Twitter and Facebook from their phones. These problems affected Blackberry users in Europe but soon spread with users all over the world experiencing similar problems.† It didnít take long for thousands of customers to take to social networking sites to cite their anger and annoyance. Those who were more proactive and determined to find out what the problem was contacted their mobile phone networks for advice. They were all directed to Research in Motion (RIM) who is the Canadian company behind Blackberry. These efforts did not get them very far.

After some hours of the problem first being apparent, RIM finally released a statement on their Twitter account stating “Some users in EMEA are experiencing issues. We’re investigating, and we apologise for any inconvenience.”

EMEA will not be a term that most users will have come across or understand. It actually stands for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Surely using such terminology should have been looked at and will have left thousands of people searching the abbreviated term to gain an understanding.

It took until 21:00 that evening when another official statement was released by RIM saying “Earlier today, some BlackBerry subscribers in the EMEA region experienced delays with BlackBerry services. The issue was resolved and services are operating normally. We apologise to those customers who were impacted for any inconvenience.”

No statement had been released as to what had gone wrong and why it occurred. It was a clear attempt to sweep the whole event under the carpet and to play down the overall impact that the service failures may have had, especially with many people using Blackberries for business purposes.

A new day, no more problems, not for Blackberry users. On Tuesday morning, more reports from disgruntled Blackberry users started to appear on social networking sites stating similar problems such as emails not arriving and BBM failing once again. Yet again, these problems spread across the world affecting millions of users.

The obvious reluctance by RIM to release any statements regarding to why Blackberry users were struggling to access and use applications on their phones is very apparent as it took until 21:53 on Tuesday to release a statement explaining what had gone wrong.

RIM explained ďThe messaging and browsing delays being experienced by BlackBerry users in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Brazil, Chile and Argentina were caused by a core switch failure within RIM’s infrastructure. Although the system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested. As a result, a large backlog of data was generated and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service as quickly as possible. We apologize for any inconvenience and we will continue to keep you informed.”

This morning another statement has been released stating that the problem has been resolved and that everything should be running fine. A similar thing was stated on Monday and things went wrong on Tuesday so can all Blackberry users be confident that the service they pay for will be working fine for the foreseeable future?

An unexpected two day shutdown undoubtedly will have angered many Blackberry users which will have only been increased after the initial statement that the problem had been fixed.† The obvious contempt that was shown by Blackberry and RIM is astonishing and could well cost them dearly as thousands of present and future customers may well decide to turn to competing companies.

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