RIM says BlackBerry service restored
Telecom providers start to offer compensation for worldwide outages
Global BlackBerry service is fully restored, Research in Motion said Thursday morning, though there may still be delays in transmitting instant messages and emails as the backlog from four days of outages clears.
The company will now look at compensating BlackBerry users, co-CEO Mike Lazaridis told a news conference of reporters and investors, as it struggles to keep up its once-envied reputation for reliability.
Spanish telecom provider Telefonica has already said it will compensate its affected customers, in accordance with Spanish law. Britain's Vodafone said it is considering similar measures.
If those charges get passed on to Waterloo, Ont.-based RIM, it could face a sizable bill.
Outages for RIM's instant messaging service, email and internet browsing started at the beginning of the week in Europe, the Mideast and Africa and spread to Canada, the U.S. and Latin America on Wednesday while the company scrambled to restore service.
The outage occurred after a "core switch" and then a backup switch failed, leading to a large backlog of data, but the company did not say Thursday what caused the switches to go down.
Lazaridis spoke on Thursday's call alongside fellow co-CEO Jim Balsillie in a rare joint appearance of both executives.
Apple iPhone problems
- As Research in Motion struggled with its BlackBerry service this week, some iPhone users reported problems upgrading to the device's latest operating system.
- Apple released iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch on Wednesday, sparking a surge in internet traffic as customers downloaded the software.
- That led to long delays, lasting many hours in some cases, in installing the new operating system, with many users reporting their initial attempts failed and they had to retry multiple times.
- In the worst cases, users' iPhones were rendered inoperable in the middle of downloading and they reported losing data from the devices.
- Various technology websites said the solution is to reconnect the iPhone to iTunes, which will restore to the most recent backup. In the severest cases, the phone needs to be put into device firmware update mode.
"You should know we are taking immediate and aggressive steps to prevent this from happening again," Lazaridis said.
Just hours earlier, while service was still fritzing, he released a video expressing remorse to BlackBerry users affected by the massive outage.
"I apologize for the service outages this week," Lazaridis said in the 100-second video posted on the company's website and YouTube.
"We let many of you down.... You expect better from us and I expect better from us."
RIM's chief technology officer, David Yach, said messages coming into Europe from Asia and the Americas to BlackBerry users got backed up and started affecting BlackBerry users globally.
Spanish consumer watchdog organization FACUA estimated compensation there should range from 32 cents to $2.67 per day of outage. If that rate were applied globally to BlackBerry's roughly 70 million customers, costs could rise to nearly $190 million per day of service disruption.
RIM shares closed down more than three per cent Wednesday as investors worried that the problem would undermine the BlackBerry's reputation for reliability.
The stock gave up a further 15 cents, or 0.6 per cent, to $24.12 on Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.