Millions of Blackberry owners across Europe, the Middle East and Africa have been left without services following a server crash.
Owners of the smartphones were unable to browse the web, send email or instant messages.
The problem appears to have originated in a data centre in Slough which handles Blackberry services for the affected regions.
Blackberry UK said it knew about the problem and was “investigating”.
In a tweet sent around 14:42 BST, the company said: “Some users in EMEA are experiencing issues.”
A subsequent statement said Blackberry was: “working to resolve an issue currently impacting some Blackberry subscribers in Europe Middle East and Africa.”
It apologised for the inconvenience that the ongoing problem was causing its customers.
Earlier on 10 October mobile operators in the UK, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and other nations pointed the finger at Blackberry owner RIM when replying to tweets from customers complaining about the problems.
Business and consumer
Many corporate customers said they had not lost service, suggesting that the problem was with Blackberry’s BIS consumer systems, rather than its BES enterprise systems.
“Blackberry runs two infrastructures,” explained Simon Butler, a Microsoft Exchange consultant at Sembee.
“The understanding I have is that the BIS service has crashed.
If you have got companies that are shifting their allegiance to other players in the market and you stop being able to provide them that concrete, reliable service, then that’s going to have a detrimental effect.”
Stuart Miles Pocket-Lint.com
“The business side runs on a different set of servers, although enterprise Blackberrys can still use messenger and the consumer services, so they are also affected,” said Mr Butler.
Such a major outage will still come as unwelcome news to Blackberry’s owner RIM, which has been losing market share to smartphone rivals – in particular Apple’s iPhone.
Many corporate clients have switched to the device after Apple made a concerted effort to improve its support for secure business email systems.
“If you have got companies that are shifting their allegiance to other players in the market and you stop being able to provide them that concrete, reliable service, then that’s going to have a detrimental effect,” said Stuart Miles of Pocket-Lint.com.
The first signs of trouble emerged about 11:00 BST but seemed to have escalated with tags about Blackberry and its BBM service trending on Twitter.
The only functioning service on Blackberry seemed to be text messaging, prompting many users to voice their frustration online.
In an early report, The Daily Telegraph quoted one Twitter user as suffering “serious Blackberry outrage”.
Others lamented the loss of the free BBM network saying they did not know what to do without it.
Millions of BlackBerry users remained without service on Wednesday as a three-day network outage spread to North America, causing massive frustrations for people who rely on these smartphones for business and personal communications.
“BlackBerry subscribers in the Americas may be experiencing intermittent service delays this morning,” Research in Motion, maker of BlackBerry smartphones, said in a statement. “We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience. We will provide a further update as soon as more information is available.”
The outage now impacts people on nearly every continent, according to the company’s statements.
An “extremely critical issue” on the BlackBerry network caused the outage, Stephen Bates, RIM’s managing director in the U.K., told CNN’s Richard Quest. He added: “We’re putting all of our focus with all of our engineers and all of our network specialists on trying to understand the nature of why this backup system didn’t work as it should have …”
The service outage started on Monday with customers in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, before spreading to South America and Asia on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning it appeared to hit the United States and Canada. The outage appears primarily to affect text messaging and Internet access from the mobile phones, not necessarily their ability to place calls.
No customer e-mails have been completely lost, and they will be delivered eventually, RIM said in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, according to CNNMoney’s Julianne Pepitone.
In a statement released Tuesday, the company 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.”
The company said it is working “around the clock” to fix the problem.
“A large backlog of data was generated and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service as quickly as possible,” the Tuesday statement said. “We apologize for any inconvenience and we will continue to keep you informed.”
There are about 70 million BlackBerry users worldwide. RIM has not commented on how many users are affected, but reports suggest the number of users without some sort of service has climbed into the millions.
BlackBerry users, many of whom use the devices primarily for business purposes, were angered by the outage.
Many people took to Twitter to both complain about lost productivity and to make light of the situation.
“COME ONNNN. Sort it out #blackberry. This is ridiculous in this day and age,” a Twitter user named @Suzy__G wrote.
“OK, this #Blackberry business is now SERIOUSLY pissing me off,” CNN’s Piers Morgan tweeted.
Later, he said: “One positive of the #Blackberry crisis – my personal trainer can’t get hold of me. #OrderingBurgers.”
“#DearBlackberry I can’t work, I can’t study, please, please come back from that coma!” @marianaae wrote.
“What did the one #Blackberry user say to the other?……….nothing….,” said another Twitter user, @giselewaymes.
“And iPhone users everywhere smile smugly and search for the ‘I Told You So’ app,” wrote another.
A website called isblackberrystillbroken.com popped up to track developments.
People who visited the site on Wednesday afternoon were greeted with a red screen and a giant word: “Yes.”
This is not the first time RIM has faced a major service outage.
“I have been an analyst for 25 years and have watched RIM wrestle with this same outage problem time after time. Every few years we get pinched by yet another major problem,” tech analyst Jeff Kagan said in a statement.
This outage, however, comes at a particularly bad time for RIM, since it faces increasing competition in the smarpthone market, Kagan says. Apple’s iPhone and phones on the Google Android operating system have been gaining ground, and the new iPhone 4S goes on sale Friday.
The tech blog Electronista wrote:
“RIM’s outage is now one of its largest in recent memory and is now edging even closer to the iPhone 4S launch than before, leading to a possible temptation for those already looking to upgrade their phones. Commentary on Twitter has shifted gradually from frustrated patience to open anger and has led some to remark that they’re now likely to switch to the iPhone, Android, or another platform.”
Monday October 10th, 2011
October 10th, 2011
10 + 10 +2+0+1+1 = 24 = the service outage’s life lesson and personal year = Showing who’s in charge. Need to take charge.
24 + 10 (October) = 34 = the service outage’s personal month = Server crash. Escalate. Instant messages. Texting. Circuits. Wires. Satellites. Communication difficulties. Things happened really quickly. Spreading like wildfire.
34 + 10 (10th of the month on Monday October 10th, 2011) = 44 = the service outage’s personal day = Twitter. Tweets. Trending. How it is. It is what it is.
34 month + 11 (11th of the month on Tuesday October 11th, 2011) = 45 = the service outage’s personal day (on Tuesday October 11th, 2011) = Apologies. Investigating. Issues. Fixing what was broken. Things went/go horribly wrong.
34 month + 12 (12th of the month on Wednesday October 12th, 2011) = 46 = the service outage’s personal day = Delays. Still no service. Working around the clock. Backlog. This is ridiculous in this day and age.
find out your own numerology at: