Starting Wednesday the BlackBerry users had to put up with a worldwide outage which affected email, messaging and internet services. The situation originated in the U.S. and Canada and spread a day later in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.
The outage came in the worst possible moment for two reasons. On one hand it contributed in further shaking a not too good to being with relationship between the brand and its customers. On the other hand, it happened only a few days before the launching of the new iPhone, which is considered the largest competitor for BlackBerry.
The phones are produced in Canada by Research In Motion Ltd. A company’s rep pinned the situation on a critical link in the infrastructure failing on Monday. Furthermore its back up was down as well. Currently, the issue seems to be resolved, yet the bundle of mails and messaged that piled up during the outage are still waiting to reach their destinations. At the same time, the emails and messages directed to other regions of the world, as Europe, were over saturating the RIM’s system leading eventually to the same problem that surfaced in the States and Canada to repeat itself.
In a press conference held Wednesday by the RIM chief information officer, Robin Bienfait, the company presented its apologies for the delay and malfunctions of the system and assured its customers that the problem has been fixed, the email feature is working normally and that RIM is working intensely to clear the remaining backlogged messages. “We believe we understand why this happened and we are working to restore normal service levels in all markets as quickly as we can”.
The BlackBerry overall situation is not blooming. Business men have stuck with the use of the product precisely for its reliable emailing services, if even that breaks down for so long than its likely to witness in the near future a switch in brand use. Furthermore, the current phone sales reports place the BlackBerry 1.5 million lower than the amount sold last year in the same period.
Consumers are having concerns as well. Andrew Mills has been considering switching brands for quite some time now and the latest outage might just as well have been the last push he needed in that direction. The 27 year old child abuse investigator from Arkansas has been a true user of the BlackBerry for the past five years, even though members of his family and friends have already given up using it.
The United Arab Emirates biggest phone companies dealt with the crisis by promising their BlackBerry customers a period of three days of using the cluttered services free of charge as a result of the “exceptional and unprecedented circumstances”.
The most loved feature that the BlackBerry provides for its customers is the BBM, BlackBerry Messenger, which acts like a text messaging service but without any extra fees involved. The outage affected this service as well. And to top it all Apple Inc. is releasing a feature for its iPhones that works in the same way as the BBM.
UPDATE: Less than hour ago, the chief or RIM, Mike Lazaridis, apologised for the problems caused to the clients and stated that the service was restored worldwide.