by Carlo Longino

BlackBerry Outage Leaves Mobile Email Addicts In The Lurch

from the digital-crack dept

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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    LDCMobile, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 12:28pm


    I'd have to say RIM has a relatively high uptime for such a critical service. Usually, carriers have been hit, but the beauty of the RIM network is that your communications can remain secure.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Chris Maresca, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 1:18pm

    I didn't notice....

    ... and I use my BB a lot. I think it's because it was literally off work hours on the West coast.

    I have to say, this is my 8th smart phone and it's by far the best (a BB 8703e w/Sprint). Yes, I've had all the Palms and they were all terrible at 'push' email. And I'm saying that even though Palm is a client of ours....


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    JS, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 2:20pm

    I Noticed

    I have a BB for personal use, not only did my email go down, but so did my wireless connection. At first I thought it was local to my BB but then I heard the news this morning. Im glad its just for personal use and not for business. I can't even imagine how this impacted businesses across the country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    The Real Stanislav G, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 2:40pm


    Wow... one outage brings the doomsayers? I guess there's no hope for the rest of the world, either.

    By the way, to the author, in the article the phrase "fiscal fourth-quarter" weirds out on mouseover, but doesn't act like a link. Mis-type in the code underneath? Or has the fall of western civilization has spread to you just by typing up the story?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Mike4, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 2:45pm

    I heard this on the news this morning. They said the company has absolutely no clue why it's not working and are frightened about what will happen when it suddenly starts working again and everyone gets their emails all at once.

    I have never owned a Blackberry, so I can't really offer much to this story, but the first thought that came to my mind was this - what if some coder who once worked for the company intentionally added something in to suddenly bring everything to a halt for a certain amount of time. I couldn't really think of a motive, other than the ego boost the person would get, knowing they were solely responsible for this mess.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 4:07pm

    One word:


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Gadgetwhore, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 4:18pm

    RIM's blunder just meant that I had more customers asking me about Good Mobile Messaging (www.good.com). It wasn't a fun day taking corporate calls today.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Security, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 10:18pm

    Business Critical Uses

    For those in our industry, where 24 hour, mobile communication is an essential part of operations, this type of outage is very difficult to forgive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    oh yeah!, Apr 20th, 2007 @ 6:32am



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    JJ, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 7:27am

    Would you prefer decentralized failures?

    I don't really see the problem. So far, my Blackberry's uptime has been just as good as my company's T1. But when the T1 goes down, it's much more destructive to my company's operations than a Blackberry service failure! (If your T1 has never failed yet, just give it a bit more time, it's bound to happen eventually.)

    Decentralizing wouldn't prevent Blackberry failures, it would just mean that different users would have failures at different times. And honestly, if my blackberry service is down I'm not gonna say, "well, at least somebody somewhere else probably still has service."

    Decentralizing is only useful if the distributed systems take over for the systems that go down... but RIM already has failover systems, and at least for the last outage RIM said that they... um... failed too.

    This article looks at why really high reliability is so hard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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