BlackBerry users across the globe have been experiencing service outages over the past few days. On Wednesday, October 12, 2011, RIM held a brief press conference to address customer concerns. Many are experiencing limited to no internet browsing, and delayed messaging. The problems were originally reported in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, but shortly spread to the rest of the world, including the United States.
One of the most popular features of the BlackBerry, is BlackBerry Messaging (BBM). Text messaging is free within the BlackBerry network. This is a huge draw, especially for the younger generation, who are more accustomed to online communication. Delays in the messaging service certainly caught the attention of users, and some were even concerned that the delays might be related to the many recent hacking scandals reported in the media. RIM stresses that the delays have nothing to do with hacking and that the privacy of their customers remains in tact. The company also addressed concerns about the messages sent during outages, and assured customers that their messages would reach the correct recipient. No messages were lost, only delayed.
Prior to the press conference, RIM took to twitter to try and quell concerns about the service problems. The company tweeted that some areas have been experiencing impaired browsing and messaging delays. The tweet seemed to make light of such widespread service outages, which affected users across the planet. Carriers, such as T-Mobile UK, Batelco, Safaricom, Vodafone Egypt, Bahrain Telecommunications Company, Qtel Qatar and others all reported that their customers were experiencing problems.
The cause of the outages were purely technical. RIM explained the issue was caused by a core switch failure, which affected servers in Europe. One unit in particular failed to switch over to their backup system. The exact location was not disclosed. Any messages sent in the region, or that needed to pass through the region, were delayed. Because traffic slowed down, a larger problem was created, as the system tried to handle its backlog along with all the new messages and internet traffic piling on.
RIM was not able to give an estimate as to when customers can expect service to resume normal functioning. The company did stress that reestablishing service was their top priority.
Currently, the BlackBerry servers are working through the backlog of data and there's no telling how long that could take. Ironically, RIM's co-CEO was in Dubai when the outages occurred, announcing plans to allow BlackBerry users to share documents, links and other information by syncing their phones together.
This is the latest in a series of difficulties RIM has been involved in recently. It could spell big trouble for RIM's co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie. Jaguar's Chief Executive Vic Alboini may use the recent outages as leverage to convince shareholders to make some drastic changes to RIM.
Jaguar claims to have enough backing to account for 8 percent of RIM's stock. The details of the changes in Jaguar's vision are not clear, but would begin with replacing the current CEOs.