Research In Motion has delivered an explanation of what caused the BlackBerry outage
earlier this week -- sort of. It says an insufficiently tested software upgrade
set off a series of errors at its network operations center, which processes all the emails for BlackBerry devices in North America, and then its "failover process", which is supposed to switch things to a backup system, didn't work properly. The company says that it has plenty of capacity and resources to deal with its volume of messages and growing user base, and that it will better test its upgrades in the future. However, that explanation -- and the long time it took to come out -- doesn't wash with some observers
, who say there are enough holes in the story that it doesn't add up. In particular, RIM's contention that it was upgrading its software on a Tuesday night, rather than over a weekend, has raised some red flags. Then, if a scheduled upgrade was behind the problem, shouldn't that have been immediately obvious to the company and news spread quickly by its PR team? The real damage from this episode won't be the outage itself, but rather the fallout from how RIM deals with it. On that front, things already aren't looking so good.