In light of RIM's recent BlackBerry service outage, CIO.com's Al Sacco remembers the major BlackBerry service disruptions that took place during the past half-decade and offers a quick breakdown of each.
By Al Sacco
Managing Editor, CIO
Research In Motion (RIM) just announced that its worst BlackBerry service outage in company history is now over, and though users may still experience delays in e-mail delivery or other minor issues for the next few hours, CrackBerry addicts can start releasing sighs of relief; the end is in sight.
But in light of this latest incident, I thought I’d throw together a quick timeline of the worst BlackBerry outages I can recall, since I started covering the BlackBerry beat roughly five years ago. My list may skip a few minor outages, and it’s mostly focused on North America, but it offers a quick look at the frequency and reach of the average major BlackBerry service outage.
In chronological order, starting in the spring of 2007….
1) April 17, 2007
This outage took place on a Wednesday night (ET) and lasted into Thursday morning, leaving millions of BlackBerry customers without e-mail. Because the service issue occurred overnight and not during business hours, most North American businesspeople weren’t all that concerned, though many were still frustrated.
Most of the news reports on the outage took a lighthearted stance, and many BlackBerry users joked that the service disruption actually gave them a welcome reprieve from work.
RIM said a data center software update was to blame.
2) February 11, 2008
The BlackBerry outage of February 2008 started in the late afternoon (ET) on a Monday and lasted only a few hours, but millions of BlackBerry users across all U.S. wireless carriers were affected. RIM blamed the outage on problems during an expansion of its network infrastructure.
3) November 16, 2009
On Monday, November 16, 2009 a significant BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) outage caused large numbers of BlackBerry users to lose e-mail service for at least a few hours. It’s unclear whether the outage affected regions outside of North America, but BlackBerry customers in the United States on wireless carriers including AT&T and Verizon Wireless reported service disruptions. RIM did not release information on the cause of the outage—at least that I can find.
4) December 17 and December 23, 2009
In the wee hours of Thursday, December 17, 2009, millions of BlackBerry users in North American lost BlackBerry e-mail services. RIM didn’t release an official explanation as to why the service was unavailable—at least that I can find–but around 2 PM ET, the company issued a statement saying the problem was resolved.
Then, less than a week later, on the night of Tuesday, December 22, RIM was hit with another major service issue that last roughly 8 hours, until early Wednesday December 23. Users in North America and beyond reported issues. RIM said this outage was likely related to a bum BlackBerry Messenger update.
5) October 10, 2011
RIM made it through 2010 without any major BlackBerry outages, but the company made up for it the following year with the most significant and longest lasting outage in its history, beginning on Monday, October 10 and lasting through today, October 13. The outage started outside North America, but by Tuesday, October 11, pockets of North American users were experiencing outages. And on Wednesday, millions of BlackBerry users in the United States and Canada were without e-mail, BlackBerry Messenger and more.
Al Sacco was a journalist, blogger and editor who covers the fast-paced mobile beat for CIO.com and IDG Enterprise, with a focus on wearable tech, smartphones and tablet PCs. Al managed CIO.com writers and contributors, covered news, and shared insightful expert analysis of key industry happenings. He also wrote a wide variety of tutorials and how-tos to help readers get the most out of their gadgets, and regularly offered up recommendations on software for a number of mobile platforms. Al resides in Boston and is a passionate reader, traveler, beer lover, film buff and Red Sox fan.