BlackBerry server fail hits millions

Stephen Dinneen
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IONS of BlackBerry users across Europe, Africa and the Middle East lost access to data services yesterday, in what one industry insider described as one of the biggest outages he has ever seen.

Customers across all major networks were unable to access emails, Messenger or internet services from 11am yesterday morning. Email services were restored by 10pm but other technical problems continued.

City A.M. understands Canadian phonemaker Research In Motion (RIM) could now be liable to pay compensation to the networks, which will have lost out on valuable data traffic.

It is understood the problem has been traced to a server in Slough, although RIM would not confirm this last night. The company said it was aware of the problem and that it is investigating, without going into any detail.

Complaints flooded in from as far afield as Egypt and Bahrain.

Sources at the major UK networks said they were as in the dark as their customers and were battling to keep users up to date. It appears that some corporate customers were unaffected.

RIM’s shares, which have lost two thirds of their value since February, fell 0.56 per cent to $23.23 yesterday.

The long-term decline, sparked by a perceived inability to keep pace with rivals Apple and Google, has given birth to rumours RIM could be a takeover target.