Blackberry says services 'fully restored'

Blackberry smartphone Millions turned to Twitter to vent frustrations about the Blackberry crash

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Blackberry's founder Mike Lazaridis has said services are "fully restored" following a three-day global blackout.

Millions of customers worldwide had their messaging and email service disrupted with many turning to Twitter to express their anger.

In a press conference at 15:00 BST, Mr Lazaridis said the company would now begin a full investigation of what happened.

He apologised again for the problems customers had experienced.

"We know we've let many of you down. You expect more from us. I expect more from us," he said.

The firm admitted that it was the largest crash it had ever experienced. Prior to the 2011 problems, the last significant blackout was in 2009.

The next priority would be a "root cause analysis" of why there was a core switch failure within RIM's infrastructure.

"We don't know why the switch failed and why the back-up didn't function as it should," said Mr Lazaridis.

In a question and answer session following the press conference, RIM declined to discuss whether it would be compensating users.

Some operators, such as Telefonica owner of the UK's O2, are mulling whether to provide compensation for affected users.

Users began to report loss of services mid-morning on 10 October and the problems spread around the world.

Robin Bienfait, chief information officer of RIM, the Canada-based owner of Blackberry, issued an apology for the ongoing issues, following complaints that the firm was not informing users about the situation.

"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," he said on Wednesday.

RIM blamed the ongoing issues on a backlog of emails to Europe from Asia and the Americas.

"Clearly we have a backlog in Europe... as you can imagine, with the global reach of Blackberry and people using it to contact others around the world, there's a lot of messages to Europe from Asia and the Americas," RIM software vice president David Yach told a press conference in Ottawa, Canada.

"Over time that backlog has built up and affected our other systems."

'Major failure'

The server problems are believed to have originated at RIM's UK data centre in Slough.

The "issues" left many Blackberry owners only able to text and make calls.

BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones: "Blackberry has so many high profile users who are complaining about the crash"

Such a major failure will come as unwelcome news to 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.

Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, said the timing of the outages was bad for RIM.

"The current situation with the Blackberry outages couldn't come at a worse time for RIM, following some harsh criticism in recent months," he said.

Such crashes may lead RIM and others to "re-evaluate their reliance on centralised servers and instead look to investing in more corporately controlled servers", he added.

But he thinks customers will stick with the firm despite current frustrations.

"It will take more than just a couple of collapses to persuade loyal consumers of Blackberry services to look for alternatives," he said.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    Makes you think how reliant we've got on technology!
    All we have to do now is wait for the Sun to just so much as berp and unleash a solar flare that'll knock out all our satellites and power grids. Bye bye anything electrical, let alone your Blackberry or iPhone...
    Lets see all these people asking the sun to compensate them!
    No doubt, with some peoples atitude, they'll try and blame somebody!

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    The proplems with the BlackBarry servers were certainly frustrating, but what I found most annoying was not the lack of services but the lack of regular updates from RIM at the start. Techincal break-downs do happen, it's a fact of life, but the poor communications with its customers was inexcusable on RIM's part, and it's there where heads need to roll, not due to the breakdown itself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    To all Apple/Blackberry conspiracy theorists. Blackberry appears to be working again, the same day Apple launch iMessage... Coincidence ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Not sure what folk are expecting from RIM, 99.9% of the time they provide a faultless service. 1000's are dying every day in 3rd world countries, and you’ve lost your BBM for 3 days, come on, get real.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    It's clear yet another $billion company's arrogance in their infrastructure lead them to fail. It's one thing to "test" for a catastrophic events, but they actually need to implement "real world" outages to test properly.

    They also overlooked that they have a single point of failure, and no software/device based failover, which resulted in a self denial-of-service when peoples devices resent data

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    Finally Blackberry users can stop feeling like Gooseberries and start blowing Raspberries at at other again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    i rather enjoyed the peace and quiet! i never turn my phone off really and i got a chance to realise that if i dont answer and email or text etc RIGHT NOW the world is, in fact going to continue to turn :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.


    Agreed re relative coverage levels... but sadly hardly surprising given how beholden the media is to their iMasters...

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    The blackberry "backlog" has pushed me to pre-order the iPhone 4s. While major outages are generally infrequent, BBM tends to be flaky and the RIM technology has a bottleneck that hasn't yet been experienced on other platforms. This must be more than a core switch failure, hardware is quickly replaced under support agreements.
    Sent 3 days ago on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    BB servers crashed unexpectedly. The down time was them trying to fix i problem that they didnt expect.

    Apple knew they were releasing IOS5 for a long while. it was pre-planned and they still managed to crash the servers. Much bigger failure, much less coverage.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Surely some heads need to roll over this? Their DR plan (if it exists) was clearly only a plan and no-one had ever pulled the plug to see if it really worked. If they did it was probably in a 'lab environment'.

    BB is a critical business service, not a toy.

    BB and the telcos are happy to charge every month to offer the service, so it should be robust and fit for purpose.

    Clearly it isn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    This is the problem with technology- it's great when it works. Most people bravely soldiered on however with "gasp" - the land line. Yes, although antique, it somehow still seems to work.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    It isn't the Blackberry phone that it at fault here folks. It's RIM's messaging service servers. If your email is that important you should have a back-up plan in place of your own. No centrally operated email server is immune to failure. Gmail itself has had outages. You should never rely solely on on-line email. And if you can't text there is a solution to that too - pick up the phone and call.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Around 12.35pm here and no sign of any normal service being resumed.

    Companies can have problems like this, but what has really annoyed me is the self imposed news blackout by RIM - that is unforgiveable. They had a duty to their customers and they have failed in that duty.

    As for the statement that people will stay loyal to BlackBerry I wonder? If I didn't have a contract I would swap now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    The past few days have been terrible. I've actually had to talk to people. Madness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    The 80's are back? Remember Betamax......

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    How many companies in the world have 80 million users, operating in every country in the world, communicating through every mobile phone provider in the world, conforming to legisaltion set by every different government in the world could even get close to achieving one outage of service in 5 years.
    How many power cuts have you had in 5 years? Birmingham Internet probs? These are "Local" systems!

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    >So it's time for iphone users to climb down from their high horses!

    Blackberry are failing in so many ways. They've lost about 7% market share in one year. Their Playbook tablet was a flop and now this. You can't pitch a phone as a business tool and have 3 or 4 days of downtime.

    Don't forget that IBM chose Microsoft for DOS due to them not being able to get in touch with the other guy.


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