Research In Motion said that key pieces of hardware have failed, causing its BlackBerry services to be knocked offline for a third day.
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A growing number of BlackBerry users are without service again Wednesday, admitted RIM, as it works furiously to restore its systems to customers across parts of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Late Tuesday RIM said, "The messaging and browsing delays that some of you are still experiencing were caused by a core switch failure in RIM's infrastructure. Although the system is designed to failover to a backup switch, the backup did not function as previously tested."
RIM did not say where the switch and its failsafe are located, but previous reports noted they are located in the United Kingdom. The failure then led to a crushing logjam and messages, emails, and browsing requests all came to a halt.
"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," the company said.
RIM indicated that it expected the problem to be resolved by Wednesday morning. It hasn't been. RIM issued a follow-up statement Wednesday saying, "We know that many of you are still experiencing service problems. The resolution of this service problem is our number one priority right now and we are working night and day to restore BlackBerry services to normal levels."
Worse, the problem has spread.
Where the initial outages affected BlackBerry services in Europe and Africa, they have now reached South and North America. "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."
RIM did not say if there have been more equipment failures, or what caused the outage to spread.
The timing could not be worse for RIM. This week, Apple is released iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S, both of which can use its new BBM-like iMessage service. iMessage lets iOS 5 users avoid text messaging fees by using Apple's push systems. Additionally, Google and Samsung are expected to debut the newest version of Android in the coming weeks.
With alternatives taking the spotlight, RIM can only hope that its customers don't flee to the competition faster than they already are.
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