12 Oct 2011, Dan Worth , V3
Research in Motion (RIM) has confirmed that an attempt to fix the problems that have blighted customer access to web, email and messaging services has failed to work and that the firm is still unsure which BIS and BES services are being affected by the issue.
The firm's vice president of software and services, Rory O'Neill, told V3 at a BlackBerry Innovation Forum event in London that the firm thought it had identified and fixed the problem when it replaced a core switch in its network on Tuesday but he admitted that this has not worked.
"We fixed the component parts and reloaded the BlackBerry service overnight and unfortunately when the service came back on this morning the component parts didn't respond in the way in which we'd hoped," he said.
"The core issue is the way in which our datacentres talk to each other in our network backbone and we have tried several remedies to fix this core switch technology and that's the piece we are still working through."
O'Neill also said that the firm was unable to categorically say which services were being affected at present due to the complexity of the firm's network and the level of the problem.
It was originally thought only BIS customers were affected, although members of the V3 team with BlackBerry devices running BES have been having trouble accessing emails since Tuesday.
"One of the challenges we have in investigating the issues is that there are varying levels of service users are experiencing. Some users are getting services delayed, some having services impaired, some not having service available to use at all," he said.
"Right now we are unable to definitively comment on exactly what services are impaired."
O'Neil refused to speculate whether there could be some malicious intent behind the outages, but confirmed that RIM would take a full root-cause analysis of the event once it had fixed the problem.
During the event, the firm's UK managing director, Stephen Bates, apologised for the network outages.
"We thought we got to it on Monday, but it transpires we didn't so we are still experiencing some service problems. Rest assured we have a team of world class engineers working on this night and day and it's the primary focus of the executive team," he said.
"We apologise to you, our customers, for the impact this is having to your business. We know you're busy people and it's not helping with this service issue in the background. This service disruption is not acceptable to us or to you and is causing us great concern."
Bates also promised that the firm would improve the communications it gave to customers on the issue, especially via increased updates through social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, to keep those affected better informed.
"We are working very hard to try and resolve this and at times like this giving information is really important, so we will increase the communications we give to you our customers as we progress this service issues," he said.
The incident has been highly embarrassing for the firm, coming at a time when it is struggling to compete with the success of the iPhone and Android devices in the smartphone market, while its PlayBook tablet has generated little interest in much of the market.