SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - The company that makes the ubiquitous,
addictive BlackBerry smart phones said Tuesday it was still looking
into what caused the second widespread service disruption in less
than a year.
Research in Motion Ltd. said customers in the United States and
Canada "experienced intermittent delays" for about three hours
Monday beginning about 3:30 p.m. EST. RIM said no messages were
lost, and voice and text messaging services were unaffected.
"It is too early to determine root cause at this time, but RIM
does have a team addressing this issue in order to define the
problem and prevent it in the future," the company said in a
The BlackBerry service, which lets users check e-mail and access
other data, has become a lifeline for many business executives and
is increasingly popular among consumers with smart phones like the
Outages have been rare in the BlackBerry's nine-year history,
but when they do hit, subscribers who have become addicted to the
gadgets are quick to unleash their fury.
"I'm mad - it's enough already," said a frustrated Stuart
Gold, who said he gets 1,000 e-mails a day as director of field
marketing for Web analytics company Omniture Inc.
Gold, who worked most of Monday on a laptop while traveling,
plans to ask his company to buy him a backup smart phone from a
rival like Palm Inc., which makes the Treo, in case BlackBerry
service goes on the blink again.
"I don't know what happened, I don't care what happened. They
need to save their excuses for someone who cares," Gold said.
RIM has 12 million subscribers worldwide and has deals with
scores of wireless carriers to offer the BlackBerry service around
The company did not say how many were affected, though officials
with AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless said RIM told them the outage
hit customers of all wireless carriers. Bell Canada spokesman Jason
Laszlo said the majority of its BlackBerry customers were affected.
On Monday, users described frantic moments of tapping away at
disabled machines before realizing an outage had zapped their
"Everyone's in crisis because they're all picking away at their
BlackBerrys and nothing's happening," Garth Turner, a member of
the Canadian Parliament, said during a caucus meeting. "It's
almost like cutting the phone cables or a total collapse in
telegraph lines a century ago. It just isolates people in a way
that's quite phenomenal."
The last major BlackBerry outage struck in April, when a minor
software upgrade crashed the system, triggering complaints from
always-on users all the way up to the White House and Canada's
Parliament. A smaller disruption occurred in September, when a
software glitch stanched the flow of e-mails.
The previous BlackBerry outages have prompted angry backlashes
against RIM because of the company's lengthy silences about what
caused them and the cryptic and jargon-laden explanations that
RIM waited two days after the April outage before telling
customers what happened.
The last major failures were nearly two years before that. The
company angered users by waiting hours before confirming the
problem, then issuing a confusing technological description of what
AP Internet Writer Anick Jesdanun in New York and Associated
Press Writer Rob Gillies in Toronto contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)