BlackBerry outages leave users textless

It was as if the right arm of millions had suddenly been chopped off. Twice.

BlackBerry, the handheld phone and computer often called a Crackberry for its seemingly addicted customers, sent many of them into a tizzy with its second outage in a week Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

No instant messaging. No texting. No Internet in many cases. No way to conduct business.

The holiday-time breakdown probably won't help BlackBerry's reputation for dependability among its 36 million subscribers as competitors such as Apple's iPhone and Motorola's Droid carve out their market share.

Canada's Research in Motion Ltd., which operates the transmission system for BlackBerry, offered a mea culpa, telling AP that a glitch occurred during a software upgrade. Including BlackBerry, Research in Motion services 75 million subscribers.

"One of RIM's big advantages is that it's perceived as a reliable device," Duncan Stewart, director of research and analysis at DSam Consulting, said in the story. "To lose the advantage of reliability would, in fact, be a very big deal for this company."

BlackBerry users missed their fix, er, functions. One customer, 46-year-old attorney Robert Hagler of Daphne, Ala., told AP, "I was getting very upset when it wouldn't work.

"My whole life is based on my BBM," he added, referring to the smart phone's instant-messaging ID.

CanDace Johnson, a New York City nanny, said in the story she lost the Internet, which she uses to communicate with the parents of a child she takes care of.

The outages came in waves between 1:45 p.m. EST Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon, according to the story, on top of a service disruption last Thursday. Millions in North America and South America were reported to be affected, but neither Research in Motion nor Blackberry would disclose the amount.

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