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Second Time's the Charm for Blackberry

For the second time in a year, Blackberry addicts, I mean users, have had to deal with a disruption in their service. This time it was their wireless connection to email and the Web. Did all those idling thumbs mean increased traffic in Apple stores?
For the second time in a year, Blackberry addicts, I mean users, have had to deal with a disruption in their service. This time it was their wireless connection to email and the Web. Did all those idling thumbs mean increased traffic in Apple stores?According to InformationWeek, Reuters reported that Research in Motion "sent an emergency notification by e-mail, saying the BlackBerry e-mail service had experienced a "critical severity outage." The e-mail referred to the problem as the "current BlackBerry infrastructure outage."

Last April, many Blackberry users also stopped receiving their emails and RIM's comments were similarly vague and mysterious.

According to The New York Times, last year's problems were ultimately attributed to "the installation of a new piece of software that was supposed to accelerate the servers' handling of e-mail. The company acknowledged that the software had not been adequately tested and caused a series of problems with a database that manages e-mail traffic. R.I.M.'s attempt to switch to a backup system also failed and compounded the problem."

So last time a piece of software was rushed out before being "adequately tested" and chaos ensued. I wonder what caused the problems this time?

As Reuters further reports, RIM's problems is not exactly endearing itself to its loyal customers. The article quotes Carmi Levy, senior vice-president of strategic consulting at AR Communications, who said "service reliability is a serious concern for companies like RIM, because if problems become routine, they can turn customers and prospective buyers away."

Even Blackberry diehards -- and anyone who has furiously pecked away at those little keyboards knows who they are -- can get turned off and fed up with not only periodic outages but with a company that doesn't quickly own up to what happened and clearly explain the situation to its customers.

As Associated Press reports: "The previous BlackBerry outages have prompted angry backlashes against RIM because of the company's lengthy silences about what caused them and the cryptic and jargon-laden explanations that eventually emerge. RIM waited two days after the April outage before telling customers what happened. The last major failures were nearly two years before that. The company angered users by waiting hours before confirming the problem, then issuing a confusing technological description of what happened."

Blackberry addiction can be hard to break but there are lots of options out there these days that can ease your pain

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing