BlackBerry Users Experience Service Outage

BlackBerry Users Experience Service Outage
BlackBerry Users Experience Service Outage 6402345 

By Antone Gonsalves
February 11, 2008 

The popular BlackBerry mobile device experienced disruptions in service 
in North America on Monday, but the severity of the outages was unclear, 
AT&T (NYSE: T) reported.

The problems stemmed from the BlackBerry data service provided by 
Research In Motion (NSDQ: RIMM), maker of the smartphone that's popular 
among businesspeople. BlackBerry users contacted by InformationWeek 
reported problems sending and receiving e-mail and other documents. 
Phone service was not interrupted.

AT&T learned of the outages at 3:30 p.m. Eastern standard time, a 
company spokesman told InformationWeek. The carrier did not know the 
extent of the outage, which affected e-mail and other data services, or 
when the problem would be fixed. "I've got a BlackBerry, and I'm not 
happy," he said.

BlackBerry data services are provided by RIM over multiple wireless 
carriers, not just AT&T. "It's not an issue with AT&T or the wireless 
networks," the spokesman said.

Reuters news agency on Monday reported that RIM 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."

RIM officials were not immediately available for comment.

The outage is the second widespread service problem reported by RIM in 
less than a year. In April, a breakdown centered at the company's 
primary Network Operating Center for North America left 8 million 
subscribers unable to send or receive e-mails. The center is located at 
RIM headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario.

The failure at the time raised questions as to whether RIM, which has 
chosen to keep its entire network infrastructure in-house and in 
relatively centralized form, can continue to scale to meet demand for 
BlackBerry services.

Lately, RIM has been pushing the BlackBerry beyond businesses and into 
the consumer market. Rather than only supporting features for business, 
BlackBerry devices are available today with multimedia functions, such 
as music and video players, cameras, and social-networking software.

More than a third of RIM's subscribers are now classified as 
noncorporate or nongovernment. As of the end of quarter ended Dec. 1, 
RIM had 12 million users.

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