Research in Motion’s BlackBerry service has gotten so bad that users have taken to Twitter to rebrand it as “Really Inefficient Messaging.”
Since Monday, Canadian phone giant Research in Motion (RIM) has attempted fix a mass global outage of services on its BlackBerry smartphones in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and India, affecting up to 35 million customers.
And while services such as BlackBerry Messenger and web browsing return sporadically to those regions, the outage has now crossed the Atlantic and is affecting customers in North and South America, RIM confirmed in a statement on its website:
BlackBerry subscribers in the Americas may be experiencing intermittent service delays this morning. We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience. We will provide a further update as soon as more information is available.
The cause, as RIM noted in an earlier update, was due to “a core switch failure within RIM’s infrastructure.”
It used to be that one of RIM’s most attractive under-the-hood features, from a government and business user perspective, at least, was that it routed BlackBerry data through its servers for encryption, making it more secure. Unfortunately, that also creates a single choke point that puts all users at risk when it isn’t working properly.
As RIM explained in the prior update:
Although the system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested. As a result, a large backlog of data was generated and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service as quickly as possible. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to many of you and we will continue to keep you informed.
As Reuters reports, while the outage on its own presents an atrocious business failing for RIM, it’s only further exacerbated by the fact that on Wednesday, Apple released a hotly-anticipated major update for the iPhone, iOS 5. That’s the same operating system that will be powering the iPhone 4S, which goes on sale in retail outlets Friday.
As Reuters explains:
The service disruptions are the worst since an outage swept north America two years ago, and come as Apple prepares to put on sale its already sold-out iPhone 4S on Friday.
“It’s a blow upon a bruise. It comes at a bad time,” said Richard Windsor, global technology specialist at Nomura.
“One possibility could be that it encourages client companies to look more at other options such as allowing users to connect their own devices to the corporate server and save themselves the cost of buying everyone a BlackBerry.”
The Economist goes a step further, labeling the BlackBerry “another burning platform” in the wake of the outages.”