BlackBerry services collapse
Millions of BlackBerry smartphone users have been cut off by a major fault at RIM, the Canadian company that makes the devices.
By Christopher Williams, Technology Correspondent
1:59PM BST 10 Oct 2011
The glitch, which struck at around 11AM, was affecting online services for consumers all over Europe, the Middle East and Africa. All are served by a RIM data centre in Slough.
They have been unable to browse the web or instant messages, or access other internet services such as email.
A RIM spokesman was not immediately available for comment. Users who are served by a corporate server appeared to be unaffected.
On one of its official Twitter feeds, however, T-Mobile UK said: “There is an issue with Blackberry services at present. RIM are investigating this at present."
Batelco, a mobile operator in Bahrain meanwhile said: “Please note the issue with BlackBerry service is effecting (sic) all of Bahrain, and it is dealt with by BlackBerry providers in Canada.”
Vodafone Egypt told its Twitter followers that “there is Blackberry outage, it’s from RIM side”.
Many BlackBerry users were particularly annoyed at being cut off from BBM, RIM's free instant messaging service. It is a major selling point for its smartphones and makes them popular among teenagers, who are able to save on text messaging costs.
"So I have no email, Twitter or BBM on my BlackBerry," said Amanda, a Twitter user from Twickenham
"I may as well cut one of my arms off too *angry face*."
In a later tweet, RIM admitted that "some users in EMEA [Europe, the Middle East and Africa] are experiencing issues".
"We're investigating, and we apologise for any inconvenience," it said.
The outage will pile further woe on RIM, which launched its BlackBerry line in 1999. It is under increasing pressure from more recent entrants to the smartphone market such as Apple and Google.
Its second quarter results last month revealed a bleak picture, with a sharp drop in profits and failure to meet sales targets.
RIM recently appeared at the Home Affairs Select Committee to argue that its services should not be shut down during crises. It followed claims that BBM users organised and encouraged the riots in English cities in August.