BlackBerry Web e-mail users experience three-hour outage

US BlackBerry users left stranded after Web-based e-mail service blackout

BlackBerry users around the United States were stranded for about three hours Monday when their Web-based e-mail service blacked out.

The outage didn't affect corporate users who are linked with their BlackBerry Enterprise Server and with a data center hosted by BlackBerry maker Research in Motion. But from about 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. EDT Monday, consumers and small business users who rely on the Web-based BlackBerry Internet Service, available through their mobile carriers, were unable to send or receive e-mail.

Apparently no e-mail was lost: At the end of that period, users were receiving a backlog that had queued up.

A CNET.com story on the outage quoted a RIM PR agency spokeswoman, Marisa Conway, as saying that "some customers experienced a delay receiving e-mail" but that the outage "wasn't systemwide." The company has not responded to Network World inquiries asking for details.

Subscribers on all the major U.S. wireless carriers were affected. The BlackBerry Internet Service comes with each smartphone sold with a data plan. Users can set up and access 10 work and personal e-mail accounts, browse Web sites, and use calendar, contacts, task and memo pad features to organize their personal information.

RIM isn't alone in having these kinds of outages. Several have been reported, such as Google's online Gmail service.

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