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RIM: “we’re letting you down”

by Scott Bicheno on 13 October 2011, 10:14

Tags: RIM (TSE:RIM)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa7m5

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Mea culpa

From what initially seemed to be just an embarrassing hiccup, the BlackBerry service interruptions that started last Monday have now been extended to a third day, and have begun to affect North America.

Under normal circumstances it would still be sensationalist to suggest such transient technical issues are catastrophic for RIM, but these are turbulent times. With RIM struggling to prevent its customers defecting to other smartphone platforms, this outage coincides with the launch of what looks like being Apple's most popular phone yet.

Having restricted itself to vague acknowledgements of the problem and reassurances it's on the case, yesterday RIM decided it was time to looks facts in the face and communicate more formally on the matter. There was a conference call, and a public letter from RIM CIO Robin Bienfait, which we've reproduced in full below. Pretty contrite stuff.

 

To All BlackBerry Customers:

I want to first apologize for the service interruptions and delays many of you have been experiencing this week. I also wanted to connect with you directly, give you an update on the service issues we are trying to solve, and answer some of the questions and concerns you've expressed.

You've depended on us for reliable, real-time communications, and right now we're letting you down. We are taking this very seriously and have people around the world working around the clock to address this situation. We believe we understand why this happened and we are working to restore normal service levels in all markets as quickly as we can.

Here is the current status of service and issues for the various regions that were impacted:

For Europe, Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA):

  • Email systems are operating and we are continuing to clear any backlogged messages. Support teams are working to minimize the impact on our customers.
  • BBM traffic is online and traffic is passing successfully
  • Browsing is temporarily unavailable as the Support teams monitor service stability and continue to assess when this service can be safely brought online
  • Support teams have added capacity to help with message delivery between regions and continents

For Canada and Latin America:

  • Email systems are operating and we are continuing to clear any backlogged messages. Support teams are working to minimize the impact on our customers
  • BBM and browsing services are online and traffic is passing successfully (except for three carrier networks in Latin America that are serviced by the EMEIA infrastructure - browsing is temporarily unavailable for those three carrier networks)
  • Support teams are investigating reports of BBM delays

For the U.S.:

  • Email systems are operating and we are continuing to clear any backlogged messages. Support teams are working to minimize the impact on our customers.
  • Support teams have added capacity to help with message delivery between regions and continents
  • BBM and browsing services are online and traffic is passing successfully
  • Support teams are investigating reports of BBM delays

We will provide regular updates on BlackBerry.com, RIM.com and via our social channels. We are doing everything in our power to restore regular service everywhere and to restore your trust in us.

Yours sincerely,

Robin Bienfait
Chief Information Officer, RIM

 

That's about it for now. The HEXUS BlackBerrys were still getting their email in chunks this morning, as RIM continued to try to clear the backlog, and this is the latest update from RIM: "From 6am BST today, all services across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as India, have been operating with significant improvement.  We continue to monitor the situation 24x7 to ensure ongoing stability.  Thank you for your patience."

Even if we presume everything will be back to normal by the end of the week, we have also to presume that some lasting damage has been done to the image and market share of BlackBerry. It's hard to imagine a worse time for RIM's Achilles Heel to be so dramatically exposed.

 

UPDATE - 13:00, 13 October 2011 - Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis is getting in on the mea culpas, this time on YouTube.

 

 

...and there's also this, flagged up by b0redom :)

 

 



HEXUS Forums :: 20 Comments

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It's incredible the frustration that it's causing people.

What's worse is them going quiet and it just being sporadic.
I think the worst thing is that it's somehow the IT Department's fault. It's almost ‘I don’t care if it's a problem at RIM, I need you to fix it now!'
And that kind of thing…
Mine is pretty close to being up-to-date now. It's taken long enough.
I have a BB…and I gotta say im not sure what the fuss is about.

Ohhhh noooeeeeeesssss I can't use BBM!!!!!!!! ITS THE END OF DAYZZZZZZ

You know…you can still text and call people! The good ol' fashioned way…The outage hasn't affected me at all really…
No BBM fine that isnt too much of an issue. No internet or email access however!