RIM CEO apologises for outages via YouTube


RIM Founder and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has apologised to BlackBerry users around the world for the outages that its service has experienced over the week in a YouTube video.

The message comes in the fourth day of service disruption, which has affected millions of users around the world.

“I apologise for the service outages this week – we’ve let many of you down, but let me assure you that we’re working around the clock to fix this,” said Lazaridis.

He added that it is too soon to say when the service will be fully resolved.

The outages affected users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at first but has since spread to affect users in Asia and South and Central America as well. According to Lazaridis, the BlackBerry service is now “approaching normal levels of service in Europe, Middle East, India and Africa.” The disruption was caused by a server issue at one of RIM’s datacentres in the UK town of Slough.

Lazaridis acknowledged that RIM has a challenge on its hands to restore its users’ trust in the company.

RIM’s CIO Robin Bienfait added: “You’ve depended on us for reliable, real-time communications, and right now we’re letting you down. 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.”

Ovum analyst Nick Dillon was sympathetic to the company, citing the outage as the first major disruption to the BlackBerry service since 2009, during which time the number of BlackBerry users has doubled. However, he acknowledged that this period of sustained downtime will again call into question RIM’s reliance on its centralised network architecture.

 “The widely reported issues that users have been experiencing with the Apple iOS 5 update process further illustrate how no system is flawless. Given that the reputation of the BlackBerry service built upon reliability and timeliness, any disruption to its service will undoubtedly impact the perception of the company and its products to a greater extent than its competitors. It is a testament to the success and ubiquity of the BlackBerry service how widely this disruption is being felt, both across business and consumer users.”

“While the disruption to the BlackBerry service is an unfortunate event for RIM, there are wider and more important issues which the company faces. These include capitalising on its growth in the consumer market, maintaining its stronghold in the enterprise, and updating its software platform to cope with increasing competition from Apple, Android and Window Phone,” Dillon added.

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