Rivals cash in as BlackBerry's outage continues

Thomas K Thomas Adith Charlie New Delhi/Mumbai Oct. 12 | Updated on March 12, 2018

BlackBerry's woe is proving to be a boon for other messaging companies. The outage, which has now entered the third day, has given an opportunity for rival handset makers and messaging companies to wean away customers from BlackBerry.

For instance, Nimbuzz, an instant messaging platform provider, said its registration has gone up by 6-7 per cent over the last 48 hours. “Issues like technical glitches can take more time than expected to resolve. However, hassled users need instant solutions and look for different platforms for communication. Our usage amongst BlackBerry users have also increased substantially,” said Mr Jamshed V Rajan, Country Manager, Nimbuzz India.

Other platforms

Some of the executives who Business Line spoke to said that they would look at moving to rival platforms if the services do not get back to normal quickly. “We have got calls from vendors of rival enterprise communication providers. This outage is a good reason to move to other platforms,” said an executive working with an FMCG.

BlackBerry services are largely used by corporates and the outage has impacted their daily flow of business. Infrasoft, a software company using BlackBerry, said communication has been restricted in the last few days.

“At least 11 mails that I sent yesterday reached the recipients today after 25-30 hours. The biggest bottleneck is that BlackBerry Chat is not functioning. And hence people who have to send mails either are having to log on to computers or use SMS as backup,” said Mr Hanuman Tripathi, Group Managing Director, Infrasoft Technologies.

The company, however, believes that the outage is temporary and hence is not looking to encourage its executives to move out of the BlackBerry network.

But many companies have already allowed employees to use alternative smartphones such as Apple and Nokia for corporate mail. Consumers are peeved because unlike the free email services provided by other mobile companies, BlackBerry charges a fee on grounds that it offers secure communication.

The disruption in BlackBerry services is affecting more than a million subscribers in India. Consumers across the country complained of erratic email and messenger services throughout the day. BlackBerry services outage started on Monday across Europe, West Asia, Africa, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. The company said that the disruption was due to a failure in the core switch within Research In Motion infrastructure.

“Although the system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested. As a result, a large backlog of data was generated and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service as quickly as possible,” said an official statement from the company. RIM initially told customers that the services had returned to normal but later informed that it was till working to resolve the problem.

Operators in a tizzy

The outage has also caught Indian mobile operators in a tizzy handling consumer complaints for the past three days. “BlackBerry subscribers may be experiencing ongoing issues with services in India. RIM is working to restore services,” said a Vodafone spokesperson. Bharti Airtel sent out SMSs to subscribers that the service would be restored in 4-5 hours. Social networking sites were buzzing with irate customers. One joke doing the rounds on Twitter was “It would appear that throwing your BlackBerry at the person you want to contact may be the best way to message now”.

Published on October 12, 2011

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