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RIM CEO apologizes for outage that affected 6% of users

BlackBerry users in Europe and Africa lose service on the day the iPhone 5 goes on sale

Technology trends and news by Faith Merino
September 21, 2012 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2a59

Of all the days for RIM to have a BlackBerry outage, it had to happen on the day the iPhone 5 went on sale… Bad. Timing.

Millions of BlackBerry users throughout Europe and Africa were left without service Friday morning.  RIM estimates that the outage affected 6% (almost five million) of BlackBerry users, and some users may have been left without service for as long as three hours.

“We are conducting a full technical analysis of this quality of service issue and will report as soon as it concludes.  I again want to apologize to those customers who were impacted today,” said RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, in a statement.

Is it a coincidence that the BlackBerry outage happens to fall on the same day that the iPhone 5 is being released to the public?  Probably.  But if you will recall, the last BlackBerry outage—the one that lasted four days and spanned five continents—also coincided with an iPhone launch.  BlackBerries around the world went down on from October 9-13, and the iPhone 4S was released October 14.

But conspiracy theories aside, this outage definitely doesn’t hold a candle to last year’s outage, when millions of BlackBerry users in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America, South America, and Central America all experienced service failures.  The problem started with a glitch in a facility in England and the failure of a backup switch, which traveled across the UK and Europe and eventually went global.

As Reuters points out, the reason the BlackBerry system experiences so many outages is actually the same reason why BlackBerries were once such a huge hit in the business community.  Unlike other OS makers, BlackBerry encrypts and compresses messages.  That means that all messages have to be routed through RIM’s data centers, so a failure of one center threatens to take down others.  Apple and Android, however, don’t have central networks, so they don’t run the same risk.

It feels like RIM has been circling the drain for years.  It’s like seeing a wounded animal die a slow, torturous death.  For God’s sake, somebody put RIM out of its misery!  A report from ad network Chitika showed that RIM devices (including the Playbook tablet) have seen a usage drop of 25% in the last year.  The devices now only account for 1% of all mobile traffic.

In July, RIM shocked many with its horrendous quarterly report - as in, it was worse than it normally is.  Revenue was down 33% to $2.8 billion in Q1 from $4.2 billion the previous quarter and $4.9 billion in Q1 2012. RIM shipped 7.8 million Blackberry phones and only 260,000 Playbook tablets.  The company announced its plans to ax 5,000 employees, and the nail in the coffin: its critical Blackberry 10 smartphones won’t be released until early next year.  

Nevertheless, Heins does not believe that RIM is in a death spiral. 

The Canadian company was down 7.41%, closing Friday evening at $6.25.

 

Image source: freethegadgets.com


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