RIM Resumes BlackBerry Service

The company's top executive blames the 3-hour outage on a likely service upgrade. 

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion resumed its wireless service about 3 hours after an outage swept the United States Feb. 11. It was the second service outage for RIM in less than a year.

In a statement issued by RIM Feb. 12, the company stressed that only e-mail was affected by the outage and no voice or SMS services were disrupted.

"No messages were lost and message queues began to be cleared after normal service levels were restored," the statement said.

While the statement said the company was continuing to investigate the cause of the outage,RIM Co-CEO Jim Balsillie told reporters at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that the outage was likely caused by a service upgrade.

Reuters reported that Bryan Simpson, RIM support account manager, sent an e-mail to BlackBerry users late on the afternoon of Feb. 11 about the "critical severity outage." Simpson said in the e-mail that the outage was affecting all enterprise customers and "users of the Americas network."

The outage began at about 3:30 p.m. EST, and service was restored shortly after 6:30 p.m.

"It was pretty focused and isolated, and we recovered well," Balsillie told Bloomberg News.

Read here about the latest BlackBerry enhancements.

In April 2007, RIM also suffered a large service outage. The company blamed that outage on the failure of a minor software upgrade to a caching subsystem, a subsequent breakdown of the failover system and the overloading of a second system.

"It shouldn't have happened, and it won't happen again," Balsillie told eWEEK after the April outage. "It wasn't a corruption of any form of the infrastructure, and that's very important. It shouldn't have happened, and it won't happen again."

Explaining that the problem that caused the April blackout was totally avoidable, Balsillie said the company was broadening, strengthening and "fault tolerating" the system. "It's a global and public safety imperative," he said, adding that there was no constraint on budget or resources for this work.