BlackBerry Blackout Latest Trouble for RIM

Saturday, 15 Oct 2011 | 2:34 PM ET

This week's outage affecting BlackBerry customers is threatening to send a lot of them elsewhere for their cell phone, Internet and email service.

Blackberry Bold
Source: blackberry.com
Blackberry Bold

The three-day blackout interrupted email and Internet access for tens of millions of frustrated users. It didn't last as long in the U.S. and Canada, where the outage began Wednesday. But many of the world's 70 million BlackBerry users — and perhaps most of them — were affected.

A Michigan college student who says she's been a big supporter of the Blackberry now says she's "done playing these games." Kate Jacobson says the outage was the "last straw." When service was restored yesterday, she got an iPhone anyway.

Research in Motion, the company that makes the phones and handles email traffic to them, says the system has been processing a vast backlog of stalled messages. The company's two CEOs said they hadn't made plans yet to compensate customers, but they were turning their attention to that.

Despite the grumbling from consumers, the problem is not likely to result in a big loss of corporate and government clients. BlackBerrys are deeply entrenched in commercial settings. Getting rid of them would represent time and money that companies may be reluctant to give up.

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