Outage Could Set Back RIM Recovery

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2011-10-12 Print this article Print

I thought maybe a walk would clear my head of my disappointment over two mobile devices that wouldn't behave. So I threw on my yellow slicker and went outside to the smell of cold autumn rain, wet leaves, last night's skunk. Finally, I was in the right mood to inflict a column on my editors.

But just in case, I tried iTunes again and it tried and failed to install iOS 5 again. I checked the site that iTunes was having trouble accessing, and it seems like it's pretty busy. Fortunately, the reinstall of iOS doesn't cause any damage when it fails. All that really happens is that everything is backed up, and my apps and data remained as they always were. So while Apple's failure to upgrade might be disappointing, I can chalk it up to what is likely a huge amount of upgrade traffic and overwhelmed servers.

The RIM failure is a little harder to dismiss. On this rainy Wednesday morning, a series of infrastructure failures that started in the Middle East and South Asia migrated across Europe and now were affecting North America. The only thing I could do with my BlackBerry was make phone calls.

So, of course, I called my friends with BlackBerrys to discuss how awful it was that all of the BlackBerrys were out and we couldn't use BlackBerry Messenger, get emails or even browse the Web.

While this was annoying to many BlackBerry users and a significant problem for a few, it's a much bigger problem for RIM. This company could hardly have had a global messaging outage at a worse time. Just as the company had launched some very cool new devices and was starting to get some interest again, the company's messaging services went down globally. This seems to be something that potential users will find hard to overlook.

In fact, considering that RIM has promised again and again that the company has ensured that there would never be another global or even regional outage, this new global outage is pretty disheartening.

So will RIM find that this is the final straw that leads to the disappearance of their dreams of leadership? It's hard to say how long it will take to regain the confidence of BlackBerry users after yet another massive outage. But I do know that the purchase of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 with the touch screen I was planning is going on hold for a while. Now the iPhone 4S looks awfully tempting.

Meanwhile I can delete email using my iPad, even if it's not as convenient. I felt the BlackBerry buzz again-but it was another copy of an email the BlackBerry had delivered hours ago. Time for some Johnny Cash, and deleting email on the iPad while the cold rain falls outside. 

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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