RIM Experiences BlackBerry Outages Around the Globe

RIM BlackBerry users in North America are experiencing disruptions in service. An expert says there could be multiple causes.

North American users of Research In Motion s BlackBerry service are apparently experiencing outages.

Those reports come a day after BlackBerry users in parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina all experienced what RIM called messaging and browsing delays. The company blamed those on a core switch failure within its infrastructure.

BlackBerry users in Baltimore, New York City and Ontario told eWEEK they were experiencing issues with their service. RIM declined to respond directly to a request for comment by press time, but provided some updates through its official channels.

"BlackBerry subscribers in the Americas may be experiencing intermittent service delays this morning," RIM wrote in a short message posted Oct 12 on its Website. "We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience."

In another posting, the company suggested that the issue had become "our Number One priority right now and we are working night and day to restore all BlackBerry services to normal levels."

Security expert Bobby Kuzma, president of Central Florida Technology Solutions, told eWEEK that one possible culprit is RIM's backend architecture, which routes traffic through the company's Canadian headquarters. "If their clusters had been distributed geographically, this would have disrupted a cluster but not all of them," he said. "If they do have some degree of geographic redundancy in place and it s still spreading, that would speak to some sort of software glitch."

Smartphone services for competitors such as Google Android and Windows Phone, because they don t route through a central mothership, are theoretically less vulnerable to a global disruption.

Nor did Kuzma dismiss what he termed the "outside chance" of an externally influenced attack, mostly because it s taking so long to get this dealt with.

RIM is in the midst of what its executives term a transition period, with the company prepping a set of QNX-based superphones it hopes will allow it to reclaim the initiative against aggressive competitors such as Apple"s iPhone and Google Android. Until those devices reach the market, however, RIM will rely on a set of new devices running BlackBerry 7 OS.

During its Sept. 15 earnings call, RIM reported revenues of $4.2 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2012, a 15 percent decline from the $4.9 billion it earned during the previous quarter. The company shipped some 10.6 million BlackBerry smartphones and around 200,000 BlackBerry-branded PlayBook tablets during that period. RIM acknowledges that demand has slowed for its older BlackBerry models.

This article was originally published on 10-12-2011
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