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Blackberry outages hit OSU campus, RIM apologizes

Courtesy of RIM

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While most BlackBerry users thought the service outages in Europe would never reach the United States, some Ohio State students are already experiencing problems related to the outage.

The outages, which started in the Middle East on Monday, have now spread to the U.S. and Canada. According to Research In Motion, BlackBerry’s manufacturer, there are more than 70 million BlackBerry users worldwide.

RIM released a statement Wednesday morning saying, “The messaging and browsing delays that some of you are still experiencing were caused by a core switch failure within RIM’s infrastructure. Although the system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested.”

David Yach, chief technology officer of software for RIM, said in a conference call that RIM is working to restore service. He also said not all users are affected.

“We have global teams working around the clock on this,” Yach said. “It is our top priority to return BlackBerry service to our customers.”

Kerianne Ruzicka, a second-year in marketing, said she has started experiencing problems related to the outage.

“Today, BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) has completely stopped working,” she said. “There’s nothing I can do, I can’t send or receive messages through BBM whatsoever.”

Ruzicka said she is already waiting for her new phone, an Apple iPhone, because her experience with BlackBerry has been so negative.

“I don’t think I’ll ever get a BlackBerry ever again. I am getting an upgrade a year early because this phone is so awful,” Ruzicka said.

Sam Core, a fourth-year in economics, said he has not experienced any problems related to the outage, but he is also unhappy with his current BlackBerry.

“I plan on getting an Android phone or the iPhone 5 when it comes out. I’m pretty much done with BlackBerry,” Core said. “They don’t have the applications that the Android marketplace does or like Apple’s applications.”

Though his phone is still working, Core said RIM should be working to fix the problem, and be ready to give its customers some type of compensation for the inconveniences related to the outage.

“RIM, they definitely need to investigate this and pursue it heavily, and figure out a solution to the problem,” Core said. “There should be a recall. They should give (customers) a new phone that will operate with 100 percent certainty.”

In an open letter to all BlackBerry customers Robin Bienfait, chief information officer for BlackBerry, said she apologizes “for the service interruptions and delays.”

“You’ve depended on us for reliable, real-time communications, and right now we’re letting you down,” Bienfait wrote. “We are doing everything in our power to restore regular service everywhere and to restore your trust in us.”

Not all BlackBerry users are as upset with their service. Patrick Dempsey, a third-year in business marketing and English, said he is happy with his BlackBerry.

“They (iPhones and Androids) definitely are nice, but I really like the BlackBerry ones that have the keypads,” Dempsey said.

The outages are inconvenient, Dempsey said, but even if he experiences problems, he is still unlikely to switch to a different phone.

“I feel like I would have to get a new phone if the phone doesn’t do what it’s supposed to,” he said. “If they fix the problem, fix my phone, then I’d still use a BlackBerry.”

Especially with the issues she was experiencing as of Wednesday morning, Ruzicka said she would never recommend a BlackBerry to a friend.

“If I ever needed it in an emergency, I wouldn’t count on it,” she said. “Don’t ever get a BlackBerry.”

RIM released another statement at 2:38 p.m. on Wednesday.

“We continue to work on clearing the message backlog in order to eliminate delays,” the update read. “Thank you for your patience.”

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