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RIM Explains Blackberry Blackout & When BBM, BIS Will Be Back

Anthony Payne, Research In Motion’s Director of Platform Marketing at London’s BlackBerry Innovation Forum, spoke to Rob Kerr of One Mobile Ring (opens in new tab) earlier today and revealed more details regarding the service downtime that has affected millions of Blackberry users since Monday across EMEA.

It was confirmed that a core switch went kaput at an undisclosed data centre (ed: possibly the Slough one) on Monday. The knock-on effect was a massive disruption in mail, web browsing and BlackBerry message services affecting RIM Blackberry handsets.

A proportion of BlackBerry users have been left with one service or another, but they were affected in some way, with the majority having lost all of the BlackBerry Internet Services features but being still able to make calls, send and receive text messages, regardless of the network.

RIM’s Director of Platform Marketing noted the company is "not communicating the details of the [lost] messages, whilst analysis is going ahead", but RIM "will make public as soon as possible" the reasons for the failure and, most importantly, what has happened to its customers' data.

BlackBerry services were, grosso modo, resumed on Tuesday morning after the company “thought they identified the issue” and RIM started to bring services back online.

On Wednesday night, the company started to load the customer traffic back on to the BIS infrastructure but it “wasn’t behaving in the way they expected” and the service was brought back down again, according to Anthony Payne.

Payne stated this had a “significant impact for a lot of their customers” and he “doesn’t underestimate the scale of importance”, as this is “the most serious incident in 18 months”, since he joined the company.

RIM confirmed that the service is “still secure, with no impact and no change from security perspectives”, with Payne adding that he believes “[RIM] are going to learn from these mistakes, with post event diagnostics and analysis, with a view that something of this nature doesn’t happened gain”.

OMR also reports that RIM hopes the service will be "corrected before the weekend, but can’t offer any commitments or guarantees because it is important not to underestimate the complexity and scale of the service”.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.