Blackberry “Service Issue” Underscores Apple iPhone 5 Launch

Research in Motion apologized to customers in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region today for a “service issue” that lasted for about 3 hours. Share prices of RIM took a hit of 3 percent this morning in part due to the problems, Reuters reported.

According to ZDNet.UK, the service issue took out Blackberry customers' email, web browsing and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) functionality; however, not all EMEA Blackberry users were equally affected by the problems, apparently. Vodaphone users seem to have taken the brunt of it.

A story at T3 published a statement by RIM’s CEO Thorstein Heins that stated in part that, "I can report that no data or messages were lost.  Up to 6 percent of our user base may have been impacted." The statement went on to say that RIM is "conducting a full technical analysis of this quality of service issue and will report as soon as it concludes."

Just earlier this week, T-Mobile customers who owned a Blackberry 9900 also experienced trouble with their emails and web browsing.

Last October, Blackberry suffered a significant outage that lasted several days that damaged its once sterling reputation for reliability of service. This latest one, albeit of short duration, may have almost as much impact on the public's perception of the company given that it is also the day when Apple launches its iPhone 5. Nothing like having a bad hair day when your major competition is showing off their latest acclaimed beauty. Most telling is that when the news of this latest glitch appeared, most of the reaction by the public seemed to be in some form of “Blackberry who?”

A few months back, Heins vowed to transform the company into a "lean, mean hunting machine, but it looks ever more like a lean, maimed hurting machine.  And with the latest iPhone launching today, new phone announcements recently by HTC, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung, and the Blackberry 10 still sometime off in the future, “Blackberry who” may soon be less of a joke and more of a serious question.

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