Ina Fried

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RIM Still Doesn’t Know When BlackBerry Service Will Be Restored

Research In Motion held a conference call on Wednesday afternoon to talk about its ongoing spate of outages. Disruptions that began earlier this week in Europe, the Middle East and Africa have now spread to North America.

On the call, RIM CTO for software David Yach said that the outage appears to be the result of a core switch failure in Europe, followed by the failure of redundancy systems to kick in.

The outage has since spread as the company has had to throttle its service amid a backup of undelivered messages, particurlarly in Europe.

Yach said there was no evidence that hacking or a security breach was involved.

“We’ve seen no evidence to believe this is the case,” he said.

As for what the company will do to appease customers, Yach said his focus is on restoring service, as that is the main thing that customers want. No time frame was given for when service would be fully restored.

Yach did promise that all of the backlogged email messages will eventually find their way to their intended recipients.

“All of the email will be delivered,” he said. “We will not be dropping any email messages.”

Here’s a recap of our live coverage.

12:09 pm: Call just getting started with usual caveats and warnings.

12:10 pm: Begins with spokeswoman: “As you can imagine, we have been pretty busy here and we have limited time for the call.”

12:10 pm: RIM CTO: Global teams focused on the issue.

“It is our top priority to return service to our customers.”

A separate team is trying to discover all of the root causes for the failure as well as the fact that redundant systems didn’t kick in.

12:12 pm: Speaker is David Yach, CTO for software.

The reason the outages have spread globally, Yach said, is because the company now has to throttle service everywhere because of its backlog of undelivered messages.

RIM doesn’t believe the issue is a result of hacking or other security breach.

“We’ve seen no evidence to believe this is the case,” Yach said.

12:13 pm: On to Q and A.

Reporter clarifies: there was an initial core switch issue, followed by a failure of the backup systems, and then the spread to North America and beyond was the result of so many messages piling up.

Yach: Yes.

12:18 pm: Q: Will RIM have to purge backlogged email to restore service?

Yach: No, all of the email will be delivered. We will not be dropping any email messages.

12:19 pm: Q: What about all the angry customers?

Spokeswoman: We have been posting some regular updates on our Twitter handles and our Web sites.

Q: Yes, but that doesn’t seem to be enough. Is there anything else you are doing to communicate with customers?

Yach: Our priority is to get the service up and running because that is what is going to make our customers happy.

Q: Is there any thought of a “make good” for affected customers?

Yach: I don’t have an answer right now. Focus is on restoring service.

12:22 pm: And, with that settled, the call wraps up.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald