Millions of BlackBerry users around the world were left without text communication services for a third day on Wednesday as Research in Motion struggled to fix what it said was a switching failure in its private network.
Users in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India suffered patchy email service and no access to browsing and messaging, ratcheting up negative sentiment toward a company already losing market share to Apple and Samsung.
RIM, which had said on Tuesday that services had returned to normal, said later the problems had actually spread beyond EMEA and India to Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
"The messaging and browsing delays ... were caused by a core switch failure within RIM's infrastructure," it said. "As a result, a large backlog of data was generated and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service."
The service disruptions are the worst since an outage swept north America two years ago, and come as Apple prepares to put on sale its already sold-out iPhone 4S on Friday.
"It's a blow upon a bruise. It comes at a bad time," said Richard Windsor, global technology specialist at Nomura.
That's an understatement if I ever heard one. RIM has enough problem as it is facing Android manufacturers and Apple's iPhone, but having their major selling point go down for three business days globally while telling customers "oh yeah it's fixed" means they're in serious trouble.
These guys are about done, methinks.