BlackBerry Users Hit By Outage

Many users were cut off from the BlackBerry Internet Service, and unable to view e-mail attachments or create new accounts

BlackBerry creator Research In Motion experienced a 3-hour service blackout on 13 April that left a significant number of users without the ability to send or receive e-mail.

Many enterprise users, however, were spared; the BlackBerry Enterprise Server remained functional.

According to online reports, RIM spokesperson Marisa Conway said the problem “wasn’t systemwide.” Full service has since been restored, the company said.

In April 2007, a BlackBerry outage in North America had users seething about a lack of posted updates from RIM.

As more and more IT companies move to providing cloud-based services, reliability and downtime have become pressing issues; there is a fear that too many outages will drive a customer away from one service and into the arms of another perceived as more reliable.

When it comes to smartphones that rely on a third-party service provider, such as the Apple iPhone, questions also come into play about whether the provider’s network can handle the added traffic from a popular device. In 2008, AT&T wrestled with complaints over dropped service for the iPhone 3G, often attributed to an overtaxed network.

With regard to the cloud, recent multihour outages for Google Apps and Microsoft Azure caused short-term frustration, but in the long term, some analysts believe that enterprise users will accept occasional involuntary downtime as a part of life—especially if they don’t want to pay the added costs that come with ensuring five-nines reliability.