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BlackBerry back, RIM says sorry

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BlackBerry maker Research in Motion finally responded to criticism of its handling of a global outage by calling a telephonic press conference and issuing a detailed apology. It said all services were back up, but BBM remained under strain.

BlackBerry services are back up across the globe, says BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM). However, South African users were still experiencing difficulty sending or receiving messages through the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service on Thursday morning.

Stung by a media and investor backlash, RIM called a telephonic press conference late Wednesday, during which CTO David Yach denied that their system had been attacked, hacked or infected. Following the failure of a switch in a server in the United Kingdom (see Core leadership failure at RIM), he said, it became a backlog issue.

And Chief Information Officer Robin Bienfait issued a detailed apology. RIM confirmed that all backlogged BBM messages would be deleted, while e-mail messages would all reach their intended recipients. Yach explained: “Clearly we have a backlog in Europe, based on the initial outage and the time it’s taken to stabilise that. At this point, we have not throttled the other regions, but as you can imagine, with the global reach of BlackBerry, people using it to contact others around the world, there’s a lot of messages coming to Europe from Asia and the Americas, and those would be backed up on the other system. It’s looking like over time that backlog built, and started impacting those other systems.””

Bienfait followed up with a “”Service update”” on the company’s web site. In effect, however, it was a profuse apology:

To All BlackBerry Customers:

I want to first apologize for the service interruptions and delays many of you have been experiencing this week. I also wanted to connect with you directly, give you an update on the service issues we are trying to solve, and answer some of the questions and concerns you’ve expressed.

You’ve depended on us for reliable, real-time communications, and right now we’re letting you down. We are taking this very seriously and have people around the world working around the clock to address this situation. We believe we understand why this happened and we are working to restore normal service levels in all markets as quickly as we can.

Here is the current status of service and issues for the various regions that were impacted:

For Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA):

· Email systems are operating and we are continuing to clear any backlogged messages. Support teams are working to minimize the impact on our customers.

· BBM traffic is online and traffic is passing successfully

· Browsing is temporarily unavailable as the Support teams monitor service stability and continue to assess when this service can be safely brought online

· Support teams have added capacity to help with message delivery between regions and continents

For Canada and Latin America:

· Email systems are operating and we are continuing to clear any backlogged messages. Support teams are working to minimize the impact on our customers

¬∑ BBM and browsing services are online and traffic is passing successfully (except for three carrier networks in Latin America that are serviced by the EMEIA infrastructure ‚ browsing is temporarily unavailable for those three carrier networks)

· Support teams are investigating reports of BBM delays

For the U.S.:

· Email systems are operating and we are continuing to clear any backlogged messages. Support teams are working to minimize the impact on our customers.

· Support teams have added capacity to help with message delivery between regions and continents

· BBM and browsing services are online and traffic is passing successfully

· Support teams are investigating reports of BBM delays

We will provide regular updates on BlackBerry.com, RIM.com and via our social channels. We are doing everything in our power to restore regular service everywhere and to restore your trust in us.

Yours sincerely,

Robin Bienfait Chief Information Officer, RIM

Related articles on the BlackBerry outage:

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