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RIM could face BlackBerry backlash

Research In Motion (RIM) is still working to clear the message backlog and delays experienced by BlackBerry users across the globe, according to updates from the technology firm.

Earlier this week, BlackBerry customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa experienced messaging and browsing delays on their handsets, which RIM explains was due to a core switch failure within its infrastructure.

"Although the system is designed to failover to a back-up switch, the failover did not function as previously tested," RIM announced in a media update on Tuesday (October 12) night GMT.

Further service updates released yesterday indicated that the "intermittent service delays" were also experienced by customers in the Americas.

The outage is BlackBerry's biggest in years and while the underlying issues have now been fixed, it has reportedly shaken the confidence of its customers.

Canada-based RIM differs from other handset providers in that it handles all messaging and email traffic to and from its phones – which means that when problems are encountered, a considerable number of global BlackBerry customers can be affected at once.

BlackBerry users flocked to Twitter in droves to voice their frustration about the outages. But after a limited official response from RIM – which has posted just a handful of tweets on the issue during the past three days – many are now critical of the firm's failure to provide a real-time response via social media until the worst of the delays were over.

And with the launch of of Apple's new iOS5 software, BlackBerry Messenger – or BBM for short – will have a new direct competitor in the form of iMessage, which could prompt some customers to make a smartphone switch.

Like BBM, iMessage is a free messaging service that allows iPhone and iPad users to send unlimited text messages to any other Apple device via Wi-Fi or 3G.