It was not immediately clear how many BlackBerry subscribers had problems, though Bell Canada spokesman Jason Laszlo said the majority of its BlackBerry customers were affected by this outage. A technical support recording for Canadian wireless provider Rogers Communications said subscribers could have difficulties sending and receiving messages, activating accounts, and using other services like Internet browsing.
The official word from RIM at the time of failure is that a "data service interruption" was resulting in "intermittent service delays for BlackBerry subscribers in North America." Because the fault resides with RIM, the problem spanned all operators in North America. Not all customers were affected though.
As of December 1, 2007, RIM had 12 million users worldwide, the majority of which reside in North America.
- Wide BlackBerry outage reported (New York Times)
- Outage knocks BlackBerry users offline (InfoWorld)
- RIM reports "critical" BlackBerry outage (Reuters)
- BlackBerry users experience service outage (InformationWeek)
The last widespread BlackBerry outage in April last year raised questions about the centralized nature of the BlackBerry service. Even though it appears that this latest outage was resolved in a much shorter amount of time, it is almost a certainty that it will have a big impact on the confidence of enterprise customers.
Detractors may argue that the total downtime clocked by the BlackBerry service is probably not worse off than what is experienced by your typical enterprise server in a year. However, the perception of users is probably as important as actual uptime here. After all, when a BlackBerry outage is experienced, it typically takes up to a full day or more before service goes back to normal.
Were you affected by the latest BlackBerry outage? Are you considering getting a backup on an alternate platform?
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Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.