Slow BlackBerry Mail Fuels Outage Reports

Despite online reports that Research in Motion’s email service crashed for a few hours yesterday, the BlackBerry maker says there was no infrastructure failure and that any sluggish email service issues were due to normal maintenance.

“There was no system wide outage. We did perform regularly scheduled maintenance that went longer than expected but there was no failure in the system,” a RIM spokesperson told in an email.[cob:Related_Articles]

“Some BlackBerry Internet Service customers may have experienced slower delivery of email, but the majority of customers would not have seen any impact,” wrote the spokesperson.

Just nine days ago, RIM acknowledged its first outage of the new year, saying users were without e-mail for about three hours.

That interruption, according to RIM, was due to an internal data routing system problem within the BlackBerry infrastructure, which had recently undergone a routine upgrade. In a brief public statement the following day, RIM said the upgrade had been part of an ongoing effort to increase overall capacity.

The incident spurred a flurry of blogger activity. Some posts pondered whether the incident would top RIM’s last outage back in April 2007 when it lost service for 14 hours.

Competitors took action during RIM’s outage last week. Palm, maker of the Treo smartphone, responded with full page newspaper ads touting its service reliability.

But industry analysts have notedthat BlackBerry subscribers are a very loyal bunch, and unless RIM begins experiencing big outages, such as last April where its then-8 million customers lost service, the leading smartphone vendor has little to worry about when it comes to losing marketshare.

Considering the fact that RIM has added nearly 5 more million customers since that big blip the experts should be given some credence.

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