It’s been a bad week for Research in Motion. And the issues are not even over yet. The company’s BlackBerry platform experienced an outage on Monday that disrupted the service for users in users in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and India. Yesterday, when everyone expected the outage to be fixed, it spread to Latin America.
As users on the four continents lash back at the company, RIM has tried explaining and apologizing for the outage through various platforms including Twitter and Facebook. Earlier today, the BlackBerry South Africa Facebook page carried a message RIM has issued over the outage:
The messaging and browsing delays that some of you are still experiencing 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. As a result, a large backlog of data was generated and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service as quickly as possible. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to many of you and we will continue to keep you informed.
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The message curiously doesn’t mention when normal services will be restored.
BlackBerry is currently facing stiff competition globally from Apple’s iPhone and Google Android powered smartphones. Both platforms are now eating away at RIM’s market share especially in traditional strongholds like North America.
BlackBerry is associated with cheap Internet, cheap messaging and tight encryption of messages on its platform. The cheap messaging and Internet has been a huge hit in Africa especially in South Africa where BBM is popular with young people.
In Zimbabwe, BlackBerry services are not available. The largest mobile operator in Zimbabwe, Econet, is ready to launch but POTRAZ (the telecoms regulator) has stopped it, citing the need for a BlackBerry specific license to be put in place first.