The outage has caught much of Washington D.C. off guard Wednesday and underscored the region’s reliance on the BlackBerry — which is still the only federally approved smartphone for employees in some government agencies.
“We’re experiencing the same difficulties that other BlackBerry users around the world and the United States are experiencing,” said Dan Weiser, communication director for the chief administrative officer, which runs the IT infrastructure for the House.
Reuters quoted RBC analysts Mike Abramsky and Paul Treiber as estimating that up to half of BlackBerry’s 70 million subscribers outside North America may be affected by the snafu. The disruptions in service were said to be the worst since a 2009 outage swept North America.
RIM’s shares have been under steady pressure in recent months due to losing significant ground to rival smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone and devices powered by Google’s Android operating system plus lacklustre sales of its PlayBook tablet.
The company has continued to carve a position for itself among business users on the basis that it is more secure than other providers. However, business users also require reliability more than any other audience.