Ina Fried

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RIM: “Right Now We’re Letting You Down”

A top Research In Motion official apologized on Wednesday evening for the extended outage that is limiting service for many BlackBerry users worldwide. The company still does not know when service will be fully restored.

“You’ve depended on us for reliable, real-time communications, and right now we’re letting you down,” RIM Chief Information Officer Robin Bienfait said in a posting on RIM’s Web site. “We are taking this very seriously and have people around the world working around the clock to address this situation. We believe we understand why this happened and we are working to restore normal service levels in all markets as quickly as we can.”

The outage comes at a terrible time for Research In Motion, which has been losing ground for months as its aging smartphone lineup has struggled to compete with the iPhone and Android smartphones. Making matters worse, the company is scheduled to host a key developer conference next week.

The BlackBerry maker has said that a failure of core switch led to the initial outage earlier this week, which was exacerbated by the fact that redundant backup systems did not kick in as anticipated. The outage began to affect North America in the last 24 hours, something RIM said is due to its efforts to manage the backlog of email in its systems.

Although the outage is now global in nature, RIM has said different customers are seeing different impacts, with some customers severely affected and others seeing normal service.

“We are doing everything in our power to restore regular service everywhere and to restore your trust in us,” Bienfait said.

The company has not said what, if anything, it will do to compensate or appease unhappy customers. It has pledged that no emails will be lost.

“All of the email will be delivered,” David Yach, RIM’s CTO for software, said on a conference call. “We will not be dropping any email messages.”


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik