Update: As fix begins, worldwide BlackBerry users still have problems

Service slowdown reaches North America for first time

BlackBerry users Wednesday reported that problems are continuing into a third day in Europe and Asia, after Research in Motion reported on Tuesday that a fix was underway.

And for the first time, BlackBerry service slowed in North America today, according to a tweet from 680 News in Toronto shortly after 7 a.m. EDT. Others in North America tweeted BlackBerry Messenger service was down.

In a statement, RIM acknowledged the service delays in North America.

"BlackBerry subscribers in the Americas may be experiencing intermittent service delays this morning," The statement said. "We are working to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and we apologize to our customers for any inconvenience. We will provide a further update as soon as more information is available."

Elsewhere, Vodafone Qatar told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that every one of its wireless subscribers was affected to some degree by the service slowdown. Some, it added, had difficulty sending email or instant messages.

Computerworld UK reported on Wednesday mid-day (7 a.m. ET) that users in the UK and Europe saw service resumed briefly Wednesday morning after a 17-hour outage on Tuesday, only to crash again at 9:30 a.m.local time (4:30 a.m. ET).

Computerworld UK said Twitter users in the UK resorted to using PCs to tweet concerns, with several noting the public relations problem facing RIM.

On Tuesday, delays in BlackBerry messaging and browsing were felt in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, RIM acknowledged early in the day.

At about 5 p.m. Tuesday, RIM reported that a core switch had failed and the backup system failed as well somewhere in RIM's global infrastructure. When the failover system did not function, RIM said a backlog of data was generated, and noted that the company was working to clear it.

Perhaps clearing out the global backlog was causing problems in various areas Wednesday, analysts said, although RIM could not be reached to comment early.

The outages and problems caused some Twitter humor to spread. One tweet read: "it's so thoughtful of BlackBerry to honor Steve Jobs by having two days of silience :P " Another: "What did one Blackberry users say to another?? Absolutely Nothing...I am here all week...on my self...alone."

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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