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Blackberry Communications IT

BlackBerry Outage Spreads To North America 272

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the on-the-third-day-god-created-sigsegv dept.
iONiUM writes "With increasing pressure on RIM to catch up to the new phones, and the upcoming release of the iPhone 4S, could this three day outage of BlackBerry's service be a nail in the coffin? From the article 'The service disruptions are the worst since an outage swept north America two years ago, and come as Apple prepares to put on sale its already sold-out iPhone 4S on Friday.'" This is the same outage as was reported Monday. RIM has released a few details on what's happened: a failed software upgrade brought the system down, and, after repairing the first issue, the backlog of traffic overwhelmed their network infrastructure taking things down a second time.
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BlackBerry Outage Spreads To North America

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  • Oblig. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:47AM (#37691152) Homepage

    What did one Blackberry owner say to the other?

    Nothing!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Clearly, there is a ghost in the machine. And his name is Steve.

  • said the rim founder guy
    • by hedwards (940851)

      You planning on fixing the problem, eh?

      • by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @11:12AM (#37691564)

        "The power of the force has stopped you, you hosers."

    • Just as good as the Nortel Technology that companies just paid billions for!

  • RIM job (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    You'd think they would have highly paid people to foresee these kind of problems and have a contingency plan for to prevent a massive outage? Nah, they cost too much.

  • The end? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717)

    Seriously though, this couldn't have come at a worse time. Like the summary says, the iPhone 4S is just about to be released, and I imagine a lot of angry Blackberry owners are going to run out and buy one.

    Personally though, I'd advice them to think twice and to get an Android phone since I don't think the iPhone reception issues have really been addressed and they'd just be going from one device with reception but no internet access to a device that sports the exact opposite.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @11:17AM (#37691652)

      A) the antenna design is a slightly altered on that was introduced with the Verizon iPhone. The antenna design is actually very good, you get much better reception with the larger external antenna - the only downside was the gap you could touch to potentially drop a call (if reception was weak), which has been moved to where you can't hit it accidentally. It's also not like you cannot affect signal strength similarly with almost any phone, search for "HTC death grip" and see what I mean. Your meaty hand does a great job of reducing signal strength when you wrap it around any phone tightly.

      B) You can opt for Verizon or Sprint for voice service, which have better call quality - but slower data feeds. With the 4s at least you can still roam in GSM countries even if you have Verizon, which is nice. That stopped me from leaving AT&T before.

      The annoying thing though, is that you cannot buy an unlocked iPhone to use with anything but a GSM carrier. I was hoping to buy an unlocked hone and try Sprint for a while... so be aware if you wanted to get an unlocked phone for international travel you'll be using AT&T.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        Specifically, they've now got two cellular antennas, which allows them to swap to whatever one gets the clearest signal. If you're holding it in your hand, you're covering one antenna (which runs around the base of the phone) but not the other (which runs across the top).

        I'll note with some irony that one of Apple's "death grip" comparison videos showed them death-gripping a Droid handset which itself had two antennas. Apple was apparently unaware of this because produced an eyebrow-raisingly implausible de

      • by Solandri (704621)

        The annoying thing though, is that you cannot buy an unlocked iPhone to use with anything but a GSM carrier.

        That doesn't have anything to do with phone. Sprint and Verizon just won't activate a CDMA-unlocked phone on their networks. It has to be one of their phones for them to activate it. No technical reason for it, just vendor-enforced lock-in. (I use Sprint BTW.)

    • by Machtyn (759119)
      That Samsung Galaxy II S is looking pretty sweet. Any user reviews, likes, hates?
    • Reception on my Android phone was worse in NYC than my Verizon iPhone 4.
  • Like many software consultants who travel all over the world, I have family and friends on BBM from many different countries. I have also come to rely on the blackberry for IM and email on the move. To make things worse, I also bought a BB Playbook which pairs nicely with my BB. And since it cant do email over wifi, the Playbook has also become essentially unusable for me. I'm on BIS ( not BES ) I would have been fine if I got a text message from ROGERS saying "hey BB service is down we'll be back in 3 da
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes, it's a good thing to mention that the iPhone 4S is sold out and coming out this week. Because as we all know, iOS 5 doesn't move almost every single existing feature that iOS has onto the iCloud, where similar outages can now affect Apple users.

    Nope. Definitely worth mentioning the iPhone 4S, because it totally competes with the Blackberry when it comes to enterprise services and security.

    Oh, wait, everything I've said so far is wrong. Oops.

    Seriously, what does the iPhone have to do with a Blackberry o

    • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @11:12AM (#37691566) Homepage

      Ehh, apparently you missed a memo or five. iPhones and Android phones have both been able to integrate into corporate networks for quite a while. I have full e-mail, calendaring, and contact sync from the corporate exchange server on my iPhone. We're talking a Fortune 100 multinational here, not "dude the e-mail server guy totally hooked me up with e-mail on my iPhone!" On top of that I can use the VPN server to direct connect to the corporate network and manage my systems from the wifi in the mall if there's an emergency. Maybe a Blackberry can do that too, I don't know, but there's nothing I need to do remotely that I can't do from my phone. I also happen to know for a fact that this is all true for Android too (the guy I replaced uses a Droid something or other and he had the same setup I do). The days when Blackberry could just say "yeah, but we have all the business clients" are long over. They need to compete on features, because business no longer goes to them by default.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        Surely you don't expect people to listen to facts about the iPhone around here do you?

        They're too busy being smug and hip by blaming the users of Apple products of being smug and hip.

      • by geoskd (321194)

        They need to compete on features, because business no longer goes to them by default.

        Of course not, their routers are down, duh...

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by pnewhook (788591)

        iPhones and Android phones have both been able to integrate into corporate networks for quite a while.

        iPhones and Android phones have both been able to *UNSECURELY* integrate into corporate networks for quite a while.

        • iPhones and Android phones have both been able to integrate into corporate networks for quite a while.

          iPhones and Android phones have both been able to *UNSECURELY* integrate into corporate networks for quite a while.

          Hey, I'll play.

          iPhones and Android phones have both been able to integrate into corporate networks *RUNNING EXCHANGE* for quite a while.

          • by pnewhook (788591)

            iPhones and Android phones have both been able to integrate into corporate networks *RUNNING EXCHANGE* for quite a while

            Sure it can, just not as well as a BB. As Microsoft states: iOS 4 ActiveSync issue reflects Apple's priorities. "They don't have a vested interest in the load on an Exchange server ... The iPhone is not meant to be an enterprise device

        • by iluvcapra (782887)

          To be fair, iOS 5 supports certificates, and the email client has always had SSL (certainly the MTA side wasn't secure, but what else is new?)

          Android supports this as well with some third-party somethingerother.

        • by sarhjinian (94086) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @01:41PM (#37693630)

          iPhones and Android phones have both been able to *UNSECURELY* integrate into corporate networks for quite a while

          This.

          Yes, you can use EAS or IMAP/CalDAV/CardDAV to get an iOS, Android or WM/WP device to work, but none of them are anywhere near as secure or manageable as BES. For the consumer or light business user, yes, EAS is fine, and geeks can suffer with IMAP+DAV and it's limitations, but as you increase either the number of users or the security and manageability requirements, they don't scale. Anyone who says otherwise has never actually used BES and has no idea what it does.

          That said, as soon as someone duplicates what BES can do on iOS, Android and/or WP, BlackBerry is dead to the enterprise. It'll be Symbian all over again, and RIM will be left selling featurephones to teenagers, third-worlders, and third-world teenagers.

          There's some question as to whether or not RIM can even port what BES can do to their next-generation devices. The absence of BES manageability hurt the PlayBook's chances in the enterprise more than anything else about it, and the PlayBook runs that same platform. I get the impression that the infrastructure is old, creaky and not all that well understood by RIM's own people.

      • by sgt scrub (869860)

        Yes but your not having to use expensive middleware and are not tied to Microsoft products for services. Also, your mail client is able to use IDL in IMAP for "push email". So it totally doesn't count as "integrating into the existing IT infrastructure".

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      It doesn't move "almost every single existing feature" onto iCloud. Literally every single iCloud feature is optional. Here's the breakdown:

      * Option to do backups to iCloud server.
      * Apps have access to a Dropbox-style storage space for syncing info across devices.
      * Rebranding Apple's webmail, contacts, and calendar services to iCloud.
      * Option to redownload previously purchased iTunes content on the device.

      So if iCloud goes down:

      * Have to do backups locally
      * Angry Birds saves don't sync any more
      * Can't check

    • Because as we all know, iOS 5 doesn't move almost every single existing feature that iOS has onto the iCloud

      What you do't know is what that means. iCloud is there as a serve to help sync data between devices. You could lose iCloud for 50% of the day and probably not notice, since all of your cloud based data would be eventually synchronized.

      Many of the iOS5 features added don't use iCloud at all.

      Definitely worth mentioning the iPhone 4S, because it totally competes with the Blackberry when it comes to ent

    • by Bucky24 (1943328)
      A company that we contract with is desperately trying to move away from Blackberry because the devices have an incredible amount of difficulty connecting to their enterprise services. iPhones and Android phones have no problem at all.
    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      This is the big difference between iCloud and other cloud servcies. iCloud is primarily a synchronization platform, there's some remote storage but it's meant to always backs local assets, much more like Dropbox than Google Apps. A pure cloud solution would just let you read everything off the remote, but doesn't necessarily make it easy or friendly to maintain local mirrors.

      If the servers go down, you lose the ability to sync, but you don't lose what you have.

    • Seriously, what does the iPhone have to do with a Blackberry outage? No one using a Blackberry is going to switch to the iPhone, because the iPhone doesn't fill the same niche in any way. If you want a phone that can play Angry Birds, get an iPhone.

      Except that they are, and in droves.

    • Seriously, what does the iPhone have to do with a Blackberry outage?

      Akward timing, like the summary said.

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ecirpdrahcir.> on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:58AM (#37691326)

    In the UK, on both outages, RIM has let the mobile networks take full blame for all of the issues - they haven't issued a statement, or let the networks know what to tell customers, with network call centers as much in the dark as the callers themselves.

  • I just switched from a Blackberry to the Motorola Bionic on Sunday. I feel lucky now.
  • Oops no rollback ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @11:05AM (#37691464)

    No B infrastructure?
    No testing?

    Bet the business made lots of money though.
     

    • by mrsmiggs (1013037)
      On Channel4 news (in the UK - report here [channel4.com]) a spokesman said it was a problem with their core switch infrastructure at their primary European site in Slough. Their backup infrastructure was also not functioning correctly either - the problem with the backup infrastructure is unspecified. My first reaction to that is that it must be gathering dust somewhere untested - but it's been on and off for the last three days in the UK so either they have the same problem with the backup infrastructure, they are lying
  • by damn_registrars (1103043) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @11:15AM (#37691616) Homepage Journal
    I just rebooted my berry early yesterday for the first time in several months. I then went ahead and installed all the available software updates.

    I'll try to do software updates at less important times next time.
  • It's funny how so many people jump all over RIM in a situation like this but completely forget when the east coast earthquake knocked out all the Android and iPhones and BlackBerrys were the only thing working.
    • Re:Double Standard (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dcavanaugh (248349) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @01:32PM (#37693544) Homepage

      Not exactly. Blackberry operates a parallel e-mail system, meaning the typical user has corporate e-mail service via Exchange, with BES connecting Exchange to the world of Blackberry e-mail. An earthquake is a natural event that is addressed in disaster recovery planning. The earth shook, things broke, we get it. When BB has an outage (for whatever reason), people start to wonder why we need the redundant layer of BB service in the first place. Corporate e-mail (e.g. Exchange) is viewed as a necessity, while BES is optional. It is certainly possible to get a smart phone to process e-mail without BES.

      I guess it all boils down to how reliable your core e-mail service is. In the companies where I have experience with Exchange coexisting with BES, BES was a nuisance but it almost always worked. We had a lot of downtime with Exchange, so for the most part we appreciated having our Blackberrys work when Exchange didn't. Better admins or a better e-mail server might have made us reconsider the value of BES, since it was an additional point of failure. But in our case it helped more than it hurt.

  • Well, the outage seems to be in motion . . .

    BlackBerry Outage Spreads To North America

  • On the first day of the European outage, I was leaving my office and a student got on at the second floor. She was texting on her phone and I asked her about that, since it was a Blackberry and, as she commented still working in the US. Her reply was illuminating.

    "Yes, but they're on the way out."

    If you can't catch 'em young, you're toast.

  • Rim made a living off disabling IDL in IMAP and selling it as a middleware product, suing the shit out of people doing the same thing, and gouging customers that use SMS. I don't wish they go out of business. I wish they go out of business and rot in hell.

  • Thank goodness RIM's been losing market share - this could've affected a lot more people!

    Seriously, though - using a centralized server does have its selling points, especially to corporations. Unfortunately Blackberry users are currently experiencing the negative aspect of that design decision.

  • I have a new BB (9900) with OS7 (via. work) and have been completely underwhelmed by it. OS7 is really just OS6.1, and OS6 was more like 5.1, which was more like a 4.8 in real functionality. It feels like Windows 98 with a Windows 7 skin on top of it.

    The web browser is a massive improvement, luckily, but I still find myself frustrated by it. Clicking on simple links doesn't work half the time, and I now fondly look back to my browsing experience on my iPhone 3G, a now 3 year old phone, and how it never f
  • by Solo-Malee (618168) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @12:06PM (#37692308)
    Since this outage started, the Battery life on my Blackberry Bold has been depressingly short. Today it was flat after just 4 hours...I hope the device isn't repeatedly going out to RIM servers and running up a crazy data bill (with nothing to show for it). That's the only reason I can think that the battery life would coincidentally drop radically...or...the battery simply failed at the same time as the outage. - COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT!
  • I just had my Verizon FiOS installed today and normally the technician activated the modem using a blackberry. But today he had to call-in and wait about an hour on hold for them to activate the modem remotely. People are comparing Blackberries to iPhones, but Apple iPhones aren't relying on a dedicated network and I don't think there are many businesses that rely on them.

    • by Gruturo (141223)

      I just had my Verizon FiOS installed today and normally the technician activated the modem using a blackberry. But today he had to call-in and wait about an hour on hold for them to activate the modem remotely. People are comparing Blackberries to iPhones, but Apple iPhones aren't relying on a dedicated network and I don't think there are many businesses that rely on them.

      Not quite sure why you bring up the need of a dedicated network as a plus. Since it's just layered on top of the existing cellular/WiFi c

  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @12:21PM (#37692532) Journal

    About two years ago our company had a ... let's say ... rapid shift in IT personnel. The reason for this is not important to the story. Among the personnel we lost were the three admins who knew how the corporate blackberry server worked.

    Three days, three hours, and 26 minutes later, the BB server went down hard and stayed down for a week and a half, while unqualified replacements struggled (not very hard, in my opinion) to restore service. (For the first four days they insisted nothing was wrong, and had all of us cycle through endless repetitions of restoring to factory defaults, reentering corporate account info, and other makework.)

    Now, it's not for nothing that it's called a crackberry. Blackberry users (of which I was one) rapidly get addicted to the instantaneous gratification that is well implemented push email, and this is what Blackberry classically has done best. It's what they're known for. And when it fails, well, can you say "wholesale panic"??

    Personally, I had an Android corporate phone talking to the Exchange server before the BB server went back online. I don't have push email, it's not as nice, but two factors forced the change: (1) I did not know when, if ever, the Blackberry enterprise server would be back online, and (2) I had no confidence in the new IT folks' ability to keep it up. My confidence was shaken. Blackberry as a platform had taken a huge credibility hit.

    Now imagine that, only worldwide. They're dead. The very addiction Blackberry has encouraged over the years is now working against them.

    Too bad, they make some nice phones. If our BB server had not had its troubles, I might still be carrying one.

    Now the only question is, will they migrate to Android, or iPhone?

    Like a lot of things, it depends on what you use it for. The non-technical will migrate to iPhone because they don't have to fiddle with it and iPhone has similar "mindshare", similar recognition amongst fellow executives, as Blackberry. The more technical minded, who have gotten used to replaceable battery and storage and regularly use "mass storage mode", don't really have a choice these days other than Android. Windows 7? It is to laugh.

    It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

    • BB server is a lot of overhead when you consider it requires an Exchange server that can just as easily deliver mail to smart phones directly. If we are going to assign IT server responsibilities to a smaller number of less qualified people, things like BB server need to go away and things like Exchange need to be outsourced to cloud vendors.

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