While the two events are entirely unrelated, a major service outage coinciding with potentially the biggest mobile of the year hitting stores worldwide is just plain old unlucky. Users of RIM's BlackBerry service in the EMEA region are at the wrong end of a network problem affecting BBM, email and internet. At the moment it doesn't appear to be of the vast and crippling scale as last time, but small consolation if you're one of the unlucky ones. RIM has acknowledged the issue, and you can bet the farm on the fact there is more than a handful of slightly stressed engineers on the case, hoping to keep customers from making that impulse purchase. Let us know in the comments if you're affected.
Update: We've just received this official statement from RIM in the UK:
"Our apologies to any customers impacted by the BlackBerry service issue today. We can confirm that services have been restored and are now operating normally."
Update 2: RIM has now issued a statement from CEO Thorsten Heins on the matter, in which he also apologizes and notes that up to six percent of the company's user base may have been affected with a "maximum delay of 3 hours in the delivery and reception of their messages."
I want to apologize to those BlackBerry customers in Europe and Africa who experienced an impact in their quality of service earlier this morning. The BlackBerry service is now fully restored and I can report that no data or messages were lost. Up to 6 percent of our user base may have been impacted. Preliminary analysis suggests that those customers may have experienced a maximum delay of 3 hours in the delivery and reception of their messages. We are conducting a full technical analysis of this quality of service issue and will report as soon as it concludes. I again want to apologize to those customers who were impacted today.