BlackBerry services still spotty, RIM CEO apologizes for outage
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David Friend The Canadian Press TORONTO
BlackBerry email and texting services are returning to normal, but the co-CEO of the company behind the smartphone device says it’s too soon to say whether the outage has been fully resolved.
Research In Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis posted a video on YouTube on Thursday morning apologizing to customers.
“We’re working very hard to continue to stabilize the system and we’re seeing steady improvements,” Lazaridis said in the message.
“We expect to see continued progress and possibly some instability as the system comes back to normal service levels everywhere.”
Millions of users around the world have been affected by the company’s biggest service outage in years.
The scripted video, in which Lazaridis spoke directly to the camera while wearing a black polo shirt emblazoned with the BlackBerry logo, was the first time that one of the company’s co-CEOs has come out publicly to address the outage.
“I’d like to give you an estimated time of full recovery around the world but I cannot do this with certainty at this time,” he said.
The Waterloo, Ont.,-based company has faced a barrage of criticism from some users after a crucial link in its European infrastructure failed Monday and its backup also failed, knocking many key services off-line.
Outages started in Europe, then spread to the Middle East, Africa and hit Canada on Wednesday. Parts of South America, as well as Asian markets including Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and India were also affected.
Although the underlying issues have been repaired, the system had built up a backlog of emails and messages that needed to be wound down.
RIM has long been criticized for keeping customers in the dark over the status of its technical problems, but the company came under greater fire from users for their silence around the latest outage and for not quickly disclosing the reasons why their BlackBerrys suddenly stopped working.
“We know that you want to hear more from us and we’re working to update you more frequently through our websites and social media channels as we gather more information,” Lazaridis said
A separate statement was also issued on the RIM website by the company’s chief information officer, Robin Bienfait.
“We believe we understand why this happened and we are working to restore normal service levels in all markets as quickly as we can,” he said.
In the statement, RIM said email systems are currently operating in Canada and the company is working to clear any backlogged messages. BlackBerry messenger and browsing services are online and traffic is passing successfully across Canada, RIM said.
RIM had initially assured customers that its systems were back to normal after an outage affected Europe on Monday, but instead the problems spread to other countries, and eventually most of the world.
Lazaridis said in the video that it has been his goal to provide a reliable global communications service.
“We did not deliver on that goal this week, not even close,” he said.
“For those of you affected, I know this is very frustrating.”
See RIM’s video apology below: