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12/24/2009
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BlackBerry Outage Sparks User Revolt

Internet forums were abuzz over second service disruption in as many weeks.

The second outage in as many weeks for Research In Motion's BlackBerry e-mail service has prompted a mini-revolt among users.

The Crackberry blog, which tracks all things related to the addictive device, on Thursday was flooded with complaints from users who said RIM is losing its focus on customer service.

"One outage is bad enough, but when potential customers hear of two in one week, they get very nervous," said a Crackberry forum member who goes by the name Furballz.

"I've heard the name 'Crashberry' a few times today," noted another member, Chrisy520.

A user named Noaim said it may be time for RIM to upgrade its infrastructure. "Wow, maybe they will spend some money on their network now," wrote Noaim.

The forum featured dozens of similar gripes from frustrated BlackBerry users. Some even threatened to switch to an alternative device, such as Apple's iPhone, but it was not clear if any of them actually did.

RIM confirmed the trouble in a statement. "Some Blackberry customers in the Americas are currently experiencing delays in message delivery," RIM said. "Our technical teams are actively working to resolve this issue for those impacted. We apologize for any inconvenience," RIM said.

The problem appeared to arise early Wednesday, as users turned to Twitter and other social networking sites with posts in which they complained their Blackberry service had slowed to a crawl or was down altogether.

The disruption comes about a week after RIM was hit with a massive outage that curtailed Blackberry service throughout much of North America.

That outage hit Blackberry services offered by numerous carriers, including Sprint Nextel, AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Canada's Rogers. The trouble appeared to be limited to RIM's consumer-oriented Internet service, and did not affect corporate users who send messages through a BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

Blackberry CEO Jim Balsille has taken heat lately from some customers and investors, who charge that in the past year he spent too much time trying to purchase the National Hockey League's Phoenix Coyotes, instead of focusing on RIM's products and services.

RIM shares fell slightly Wednesday, down .65% to $70.75 on the Toronto Stock Exchange, after declining sharply on Tuesday.

Application mobilization tools are both more effective and more confusing than ever. To develop this report, InformationWeek Analytics polled nearly 700 business technology professionals and interviewed mobile application experts.

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