RIM BlackBerry users in North America are experiencing disruptions in service. An expert tells eWEEK there could be multiple causes.
North American users of Research In
Motion's BlackBerry service are apparently experiencing outages.
Those reports come a day after
BlackBerry users in parts of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Brazil, Chile,
and Argentina all experienced what RIM called "messaging and browsing delays."
The company blamed those on a "core switch failure" within its infrastructure.
BlackBerry users in Baltimore, New York
City and Ontario told eWEEK
been experiencing issues with their service. RIM declined to respond directly
to a request for comment by press time, but provided some updates through its
"BlackBerry subscribers in the Americas
may be experiencing intermittent service delays this morning," RIM wrote in a
short message posted Oct. 12 on its Website
. "We are working to resolve the situation as quickly
as possible and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience."
In another posting, the company
suggested that the issue had become "our Number One priority right now and we
are working night and day to restore all BlackBerry services to normal levels."
Security expert Bobby Kuzma, president
of Central Florida Technology Solutions, told eWEEK
that one possible culprit is RIM's back-end architecture,
which routes traffic through the company's Canadian headquarters. "If their
clusters had been distributed geographically, this would have disrupted a
cluster but not all of them," he said. "If they do have some degree of geographic
redundancy in place and it's still spreading, that would speak to some sort of
Smartphone services for competitors
such as Google Android and Windows Phone, because they don't route through a
central "mothership," are theoretically less vulnerable to a global disruption.
Nor did Kuzma dismiss what he termed
the "outside chance" of an "externally influenced attack," mostly "because it's
taking so long to get this dealt with."
RIM is in the midst of what its
executives term a "transition period," with the company prepping a set of
QNX-based "superphones" it hopes will allow it to reclaim the initiative
against aggressive competitors such as Apple's iPhone and Google Android. Until
those devices reach the market, however, RIM will rely on a set of new devices
running BlackBerry 7 OS.
During its Sept. 15 earnings call, RIM
reported revenue of $4.2 billion for the second quarter of fiscal 2012, a 15
percent decline from the $4.9 billion it earned during the previous quarter.
The company shipped some 10.6 million BlackBerry smartphones and around 200,000
BlackBerry-branded PlayBook tablets during that period. RIM acknowledges that
demand has slowed for its older BlackBerry models.
Some analysts remain pessimistic about
RIM's ability to execute its longer-term plans.
"Our checks indicate slowing
sell-through of new OS 7 handsets, and we believe a new low-cost iPhone and
low-end Android phones will pressure RIM in the mid-range and low-end,
respectively," analyst Peter Misek wrote in a co-authored research note for
Jefferies & Co.
RIM management "remains bullish on its
prospects for the PlayBook and new BlackBerry 7 smartphones," wrote analysts T.
Michael Walkley and Matthew Ramsay in a Sept. 16 research note for Canaccord
Genuity, but "we maintain our more cautious view as we believe RIM is
underestimating the increasingly competitive smartphone environment."
The RIM outage comes at a particularly
auspicious moment, considering that Apple-one of its prime competitors-is
rolling out its iOS 5 mobile operating system with a new messaging feature,
iMessenger, seemingly tailor-made to counter BlackBerry Messenger.
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