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BlackBerry service returns but questions remain

Company still silent on cause of serious outage

BlackBerry consumer users can once again send emails and messages after services across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa were restored to users across at just before 6am BST.

"BlackBerry email services restored. Some users still experiencing delays with browsing and IM. Sorry for inconvenience," read RIM's infrequently updated Twitter feed by the evening of 10 October BST, with messaging returning some hours after that.

The outage affected users for 19 hours in total although exactly what caused an issue serious enough to stop the company's data services across a swathe of the globe remains unexplained.

A server at the company's Slough data centre in Southern England that handles the consumer traffic for BlackBerry has been blamed but this remains speculation. The company has offered almost no information on the exact cause.

The loss of the BlackBerry Messenger, email and data services left customers able to use their smartphones for texting using only paid SMS messages, which are routed via the networks of mobile providers. Enterprise business customers are not thought to have been affected.

BlackBerry needed a long and publically embarrassing outage like it needed a cracked screen. The platform has been in rapid and worrying decline in the US, a part of the world unaffected by the outage. Its heartland now includes countries such as the UK and France where it remains remarkably popular.

Between June and July, the BlackBerry actually increased its market share in the UK, a popularity put into ironic focus only weeks later as it was cited as an organisational tool used during England's August riots.


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