BlackBerry addicts across the land were left feeling withdrawal overnight as the service suffered a major outage. RIM says it's still investigating the cause of the outage, but perhaps it's just acting like a clever drug dealer and cutting off its customers for a while to make them feel just how badly they need the service. Joking aside, the outage won't do RIM any favors from its base of enterprise customers that have -- for better or worse -- come to rely heavily on the service, and may cause some of them to look at other, less centralized solutions. The BlackBerry architecture sends all the messages through RIM's servers, so if they go down, everything goes down, a point emphasized by this outage. The debacle is also likely to call into question if RIM has the capabilities to handle its recent growth spurt. RIM recently announced strong fiscal fourth-quarter results, in which it said it added a million new customers, to take its total user base over 8 million. Much of that growth was credited to general consumers buying the BlackBerry Pearl device, and if some overly sensitive enterprise users interpret that to mean their "business-critical" mobile emails are getting held up by the emails of a bunch of average Joes, it could be a problem for RIM.
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