RIM says BlackBerry service returning globally after outage

Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) said it restored BlackBerry service worldwide this morning after a three-day service outage that affected millions of users across the world in the largest service blackout in company history.

"You expect better of us," RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said on a conference call with reporters. "I expect better of us. We've now restored full services."

RIM said the outages started Monday and were the result of a core switch failure in RIM's network infrastructure, which encrypts and routes email messages and other data, making it more secure. Although RIM's system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, it did not work as previously tested, creating a backlog of data. This caused RIM to "throttle" service in the affected regions, which then created more disruptions in regions not previously affected, including North America. RIM said no recent changes had been made to its network to cause the switch failure. 

The outage first affected service in Europe, the Middle East and India, and then spread to Africa and the Americas. Lazaridis noted that the company had an 18-month record of "99.997 percent" service reliability prior to the outage.

RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie said he was talking to the heads of wireless carriers around the globe early this morning to try and resolve the issue. Balsillie was asked whether carriers are seeking compensation for the outage. He deflected the question, and said "their issue was one of support, one of how we manage getting the system online."

The outage comes at a less than ideal time for RIM. Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new iPhone 4S goes on sale Friday and RIM's developer conference is scheduled for next week. "We've worked 12 years since the launch of BlackBerry to win the trust of our 70 million BlackBerry subscribers and we're going to fully commit to win that trust back," Lazaridis said on the call. RIM executives said they were concerned with how the outage might affect users' perceptions of BlackBerry devices and will continue reaching out to affected customers to address their concerns and frustrations with the outage.

For more:
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this BlackBerry page
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)
- see this AP article
- see this IDG News Service article
- see this Engadget post

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