BlackBerry Blackout – Are You and Addict?

by Dale Wright

If you have a BlackBerry, you’ll know all too well about the problems that Research in Motion have been having over the last two days.

It all started with a huge crash at the RIM data centre in Slough in the South of England on Monday afternoon when BlackBerry Internet Services – the consumer arm of the BlackBerry data service – began to fail. Customers in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and some parts of Asia had problems accessing services on their Blackberry phones.

Now, millions of customers have been affected, including people in India, Brazil and Argentina. The problems are generally limited to BIS, meaning that the majority of Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) customers have had a lucky escape.

RIM say the issues are due to faulty fail-over devices.

BlackBerry phones use a unique technology to compress and deliver data to handsets. Without these services, users experience problems with email messaging and web browsing and their top of the range smartphones are limited to SMS and calls only. The problem also affects BlackBerry’s flagship messaging service, BBM.

This is really bad news for BlackBerry at a time when its grip on the smartphone market is beginning to weaken. Sales of BlackBerry handsets are down this year as many people make the switch to Android phones, and the share price for RIM has dropped from $70 to less than $20 since February. Consumers are rejecting the limited app store on the BlackBerry and the lack of wifi tethering for tablet devices. RIM’s own much-hyped tablet, the PlayBook, has just been slashed in price in the US due to poor sales.

Will you ditch your BlackBerry due to the problems this week, or are you too addicted to BBM?