BBM still down as BlackBerry blames 'core switch failure'

BlackBerry is still down for users around the world -- on the day Apple releases its BBM rival, iMessage.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

It looks like BlackBerry is still down for users around the world -- on the day Apple releases iMessage, Apple's rival messaging service. Cut off from BlackBerry Messenger, BBM addicts are descending into madness, their only contact with the outside world being angry tweets, Facebook updates and comments on this very site.

iMessage is built in to iOS 5, the software update that will land on iPhones and iPads today. Like BlackBerry Messenger, iMessage lets you send free messages to friends and family, and with BlackBerry currently in the bad books it could be the incentive for BBers to jump ship to Apple, especially with the iPhone 4S arriving on Friday.

Samsung and Nokia are also unveiling rival services to BBM, which is insanely popular among the youth of today. Hello, youth of today!

Many irate BBers are calling for BlackBerry maker Research in Motion to refund fees for the missing service. It's now been two days since problems with email, BBM and Internet access were first reported.

RIM's official Twitter account tweeted during the night, "Message delays were caused by a core switch failure in RIM's infrastructure. Now being resolved. Sorry for inconvenience."

Reports suggest the failure happened in Slough, of all places, where redundancy systems failed. The effects have been felt as far afield as Europe, the Middle East, Africa, India, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Maybe someone in Slough should pop down to Maplin and pick up some spare switches.

Many users are vexed by the lack of communication from RIM: that Twitter account has tweeted only twice during the outage, while the official BlackBerryHelp Twitter account has been distinctly unhelpful, tweeting just a handful of times -- two of which are the same tweet.

There's no word from BlackBerry bosses, no suggestion of when services will be restored, and no mention of recompense. If the recent Sony PlayStation Network blackout taught us anything, it's that companies have to communicate with angry customers or risk losing them forever.

Are you still missing your BBM? Have you heard anything from BlackBerry or from your network? Message us in the comments or on our Facebook page.