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BlackBerry Messenger down across the UK, abroad

Research In Motion's BlackBerry Messenger service - for many the key feature of the company's smartphone offerings over more powerful devices from rival manufacturers - is down across Europe, with no time scale for service restoration.

Reports on social networking services have suggested that users have been experiencing problems with the instant-messaging service since around 10:00 this morning, and the issue has now been confirmed by the company as crossing borders.

"Some users in EMEA [Europe, Middle East, and Africa] are experiencing issues," the company has confirmed in a brief statement. "We're investigating, and we apologise for any inconvenience."

RIM's outage comes at a bad time for the company: with Apple busily gloating that it's received over a million pre-orders for its next-generation iPhone 4S smartphone - nearly double the 600,000 the original iPhone 4 received in the same twenty-four hour period - the extended outage could have the company's subscribers wondering about a move to another platform.

UPDATE 1528:

Reports continue to come in regarding the outage, with some users suggesting that the issue is affecting the entire BlackBerry Internet Server (BIS) infrastructure - meaning that, in addition to Messenger services being unavailable, users are not receiving notifications for email. This appears to have been confirmed by mobile network Orange in a Twitter post, but not yet by RIM itself. Research In Motion is remaining quiet on the cause of the problem, as well as an expected resolution time scale.

UPDATE 0927:

In the last few minutes, BlackBerry has confirmed restoration of service - but has still not indicated the cause of the original outage, which has stretched across a twenty-four hour period and affected millions of BIS and BBM users world-wide.

UPDATE 1310:

Well, that didn't last long: both BlackBerry Messenger and BlackBerry Internet Server are down for the count once again.