RIM restores service after BlackBerry outage in Europe

Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:41pm EDT
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By Alastair Sharp and Euan Rocha

TORONTO (Reuters) - Research In Motion Ltd said it had restored service to millions of BlackBerry users affected by a three-hour service outage in Europe and Africa on Friday, embarrassing the company on the same day Apple Inc launched its new iPhone.

The disruption echoed a much larger failure that took down BlackBerry service for much of the world last October, and boded poorly for the struggling smartphone maker's turnaround plans.

"That RIM has experienced another outage is worrisome - something hasn't been put right," said John Jackson, a wireless analyst at CCS Insight.

Shares of Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM fell more than 6 percent and threatened to breach their lowest point since 2003 less than a week before a quarterly financial report widely expected to show a loss.

Jackson said it was "a bitterly ironic coincidence" that the failure occurred on the same day Apple started selling the iPhone 5 to throngs of fans worldwide who had largely brushed off complaints about a new map feature.

"Maybe it's a recipe for conspiracy theories," he said.

RIM's chief executive, Thorsten Heins, later issued an apology to BlackBerry users who were affected. He said as much as 6 percent of its customer base - or nearly 5 million users - may have experienced email delays of as long as three hours.

"We are conducting a full technical analysis of this quality of service issue and will report as soon as it concludes," Heins said in the emailed statement. "I again want to apologize to those customers who were impacted today."   Continued...

The exterior of one of the Research In Motion Limited (RIM) buildings is seen in Waterloo July 10, 2012. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese