Yet another Blackberry outage hits North America

For the second time in ten months RIM has suffered a 'major service outage' in North America that affected about eight million subscribers but the service was restored a few hours later.  BlackBerry received a black eye last April when the mobile email service failed for almost 48 hours.  A smaller outage was also reported in September of 2007.  The service is very popular with mobile professionals including attorneys, government employees and IT staff.

I used to carry a BlackBerry.  I work for a jet charter company.  So many of the pilots were asking for one that I finally had to install the BES - BlackBerry Enterprise Server to meet the demand.  Sure they could get their email through the POP3 service but the real functionality is in BES.  It requires a dedicated server, although they used to support it on Small Business Server.  Not any more - too many problems they said.  Just keep it off your Exchange Server.

I dumped the BlackBerry and got myself a Palm Treo 650 a few years ago when RIM was struggling with the real possibility of losing their grip on the market while they fought a patent dispute with NTP.  It was settled for $612.5M in March of 2006 and the company had no problem recovering from the threat.  I love my Treo 650.  I run it with GoodLink software, now part of Motorola, which emulates Outlook on the PDA.  Yes, it required another server.

Recently, most of the mobile employees in my company have switched to the Samsung BlackJack.  I have a few other odds and ends on the network like a Motorola Q or two, but for the most part, all the executives now carry the BlackJack using ActiveSync.  I'm glad because we got hit hard on the first outage back in April.  Today, we hardly even noticed the outage.  In fact, none of the flight crews complained.  I think diversity in mobile communication services is a good thing.

Do you run BlackBerry in your shop?  If so, were you affected by the outage?  For those who run Exchange Server, do you also support ActiveSync (and I can't imagine why you wouldn't)?  Am I one of the few Goodlink users remaining?

Update: The conversation on this news items is taking place in the IT news digest blog.