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RIM's BlackBerry data service has its second major outage

One of the most popular smartphones for business people is the BlackBerry. The device is also dubbed the “CrackBerry” by some users because for many life without the device is difficult.

Monday, BlackBerry users began to report that the BlackBerry data service provided by Research in Motion (RIM) was down. According to InformationWeek, users of the BlackBerry service reported problems sending and receiving email and documents.

An AT&T spokesperson says that AT&T learned of the outages at about 3:30 p.m. eastern time and that the problem was not with the AT&T network or other wireless networks. The problem was with the RIM-supplied data service.

An email message was sent to large BlackBerry customers from RIM calling the problem a, “current BlackBerry infrastructure outage.” The outage was only on the Americas network according to RIM.

This wass the second outage of the BlackBerry service. DailyTech reported in April of 2007 about the massive outage that left many BlackBerry users without serviceReuters quotes Carmi Levy, senior vice-president of strategic consulting at AR Communications as saying, “service reliability is a serious concern for companies like RIM, because if problems become routine, they can turn customers and prospective buyers away.” Levy described the outages as “a major Achilles heel” for RIM.

RIM announced today that the service outage lasted for three hours and was caused by a system upgrade that was performed to increase the overall capacity of BlackBerry email and data services. According to RIM these upgrades are done regularly and similar upgrades have been done in the past without any issues.

InformationWeek reports RIM issued a written statement on the outage, “RIM's early investigation of the service interruption that occurred on Monday points to a problem with an internal data routing system within the BlackBerry service infrastructure that had been recently upgraded. The upgrade was part of RIM's routine and ongoing efforts to increase overall capacity for longer term growth.”

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RE: Longer Term Shrinkage
By amanojaku on 2/13/2008 4:34:48 PM , Rating: 3
One of the most popular smartphones for business people is the BlackBerry. The device is also dubbed the “CrackBerry” by some users because for many life without the device is difficult.

Read that quote again. Blackberry users are pissed, but not enough to drop the service. It was back up within the day, and most people have alternate methods of getting mail. I agree that the service should be better, but it could be a lot worse. And when you consider that the largest number of customers come from corporations you can be sure RIM won't be loosing any significant business anytime soon. Businesses don't have the agility of the single user to move to another unproven service.

RE: Longer Term Shrinkage
By MatthiasF on 2/13/2008 5:28:25 PM , Rating: 2
I have a BlackBerry. Service was down for only an hour and I got four annoying calls during that period expecting me to fix it.

RIM has to decentralize and stop being control freaks.

RE: Longer Term Shrinkage
By Mitch101 on 2/13/2008 5:57:02 PM , Rating: 2
Dont you love that. Its a wireless device yet clients act as if they had a tethered connection into the office.

I give them the scenario of have you ever driven down the road with your cell phone and all of a sudden it says missed call but the phone was with you the whole time? They seem to get a better grasp after you tell them that.

RE: Longer Term Shrinkage
By Hare on 2/14/2008 12:45:25 AM , Rating: 2
Why should the customer care if the device is wireless or not? This problem had nothing to do with the service being used on a mobile device e.g. connection problem. This was a problem with the service providers hardware/software (again!).

I don't really follow your logic. Just because a device is wireless it should be considered unreliable and every problem should be forgiven because after all, it's a mobile device? I don't think so...

RE: Longer Term Shrinkage
By Master Kenobi on 2/13/2008 9:38:14 PM , Rating: 2
Same here. I got several calls and PIN messages from people wanting to know if I knew why their Crackberries weren't working. I told them mine wasn't either and we were looking into it. We didn't find out until the Media broke the news, GG RIM & Providers for informing everyone else.

RE: Longer Term Shrinkage
By Samus on 2/14/2008 4:47:26 AM , Rating: 2
I work IT too and I think there should be a 'mailing list' we can sign up for as professionals that gives us detailed information on when RIM plans to do upgrades that could potentially cause the system to fail, even if for minutes. I have clients that receive hundreds of email a day on their phones and claim they need every single one.

If I could give them a heads up that it might not work during a certain period, they'd probably resort to using their computer for the interim.

RE: Longer Term Shrinkage
By Master Kenobi on 2/14/2008 8:09:58 AM , Rating: 2
Yea. Microsoft, HP, Dell, and other companies provide a means to do this sort of thing when they do updates to their products. Shame RIM does not yet.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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