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RIM: BlackBerry outages triggered by dead switch, bad backup

updated 07:10 pm EDT, Tue October 11, 2011

RIM explains two-day BlackBerry outage

RIM late Tuesday gave a statement finally addressing the two-day ongoing BlackBerry outage affecting most of the Eastern hemisphere and now parts of South America. The firm briefed Pocket-lint that the outage was triggered by a "core switch failure." A backup was available, but that didn't switch over properly, triggering a "large backlog" as e-mail and messages came in but couldn't be processed.

The company didn't have an estimated time for when service would come back and was only clearing through backlog "as quickly as possible," according to the statement. It also left out why service had briefly come back only to fail again.

BlackBerry Internet Service has failed before but rarely drops for as long or on as large a scope. The frequency has also been picking up, following a shorter outage just a few weeks ago. With an indefinite time to a restoration, service now won't be back until no more than just two days before the iPhone 4S and could leave a large number of users sore about reliability.

By its nature, the BlackBerry ties many basic services like e-mail, messaging, and others to monolithic servers. If RIM encounters a failure, it often reduces users to just basic features. Android and iPhone work more directly and can still be almost fully functional even if they lose a key service.

by MacNN Staff



  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    We've seen this before

    Sure, BBM has had its problems. But no, I'm talking about how a once-dominant company loses its focus. And how that company essentially gives its market share away to a newer, more agile competitor.

    For example: Sony. Sony invented the personal audio market with its Walkman brand of cassette players. Dominated personal audio, spawned competitors, added a Discman line of CD players, and had a great run. And then they handed the market over to Apple.

    Sony underestimated the importance of the MP3 encoding format. They saw it coming, they tried to create their own proprietary ATRAC DRM-encumbered format, and the world passed them by. iPod now has 78% of the US personal media player market. Walkman still exists. But really, when's the last time you saw someone actually using one?

    I fear RIM's BlackBerry line is in a similar position to that of Sony's Walkman line in the early 2000s. They're too deeply entrenched in their technology to move themselves or their developers or their user base to the next thing. And it's too late to gradually evolve their existing platform.

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