BlackBerry problems continue for users

Is it working for you yet? The problems with the BlackBerry service were thought to be dealt with by 8am this morning. You'll know if that's the case if you flick on your phone right now.


Yes, it seems we were wrong to believe the official statement on Tuesday, which referred to services 'operating normally'. The service went down almost as soon as it came back up. The Guardian claimed the problem would be fixed first thing this morning (that 8am deadline), but the latest RIM statement is a little specific with a timescale.

At 10pm last night, RIM said: 'The messaging and browsing delays being experienced by BlackBerry users in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Brazil, Chile and Argentina were caused by a core switch failure within RIM's infrastructure. 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 apologize for any inconvenience and we will continue to keep you informed.'

We don't know what a 'core switch failure' actually means in plain English (although it sounds serious), but with so many BlackBerry users in affected territories, we can only imagine what kind of backlog is building up - and how long that will take to sort out. The longer this drags on, the worse it will get too.

Not that BlackBerry users will have much sympathy. Essentially, with email and BBM dead for two days, they've had phones that have been pretty useless or at least, not fit for purpose. Many users have taken to social networks to vent their anger, but the damage could be in the longer term, when owners have handsets up for renewal. With most handsets offering a decent email experience and more instant messaging software appearing (like Apple's iMessage, which launches today), BlackBerry needs to sort this out and show it is a one-off, not the start of a period if instability and unreliability. Otherwise, those sales figures might get a whole lot worse.

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