The mighty Arianna summarized what, a little closer to our neck of the woods, The Wrap packaged as "Hollywood Exhales: BlackBerry Service Is Back." What happened is that, after seeing its business start to slip through its fingers over the past year, BlackBerry maker Research In Motion encountered a nightmare scenario: its supposedly secure, supposedly bulletproof network has spent three days failing.
It began in Europe and the Middle East but was looking like it wouldn't make it to U.S. or Canada. Today, however, we got hit on this side of the pond. The outage was brief, but the outrage was audible. For one thing, we learned that Arianna travels with three BlackBerrys. She didn't say which one she was tweeting from. Although for all we know, she could have a six iPhones and two iPads tucked in her Vuitton carryon. Maybe even a Vertu.
RIM, based in Canada, has endured a rough ride of late. Its PlayBook tablet was greeted with critical jeers and it's seen its market share eroded by the iPhone and the Android mobile operating system developed by Google. An activist shareholder is calling from the breakup of the company. The Wall Street consensus seems to be that the firm's unusual dual-CEO strucure is turning into a disaster.
The failure of RIM's global push-email and messaging service is a huge deal because these are the only features that the company can still point to as major market advantages. BlackBerrys do secure email best. Better than best, in fact. This has sustained their popularity in some critical, email-intensive places: Hollywood, Wall Street, Washington.
But the #blackberryoutage, as it was hashtagged on Twitter, has led some to speculate that this is the straw that broke the once-great RIM's back. As Australian journalist Mark Colvin tweeted: "Can BlackBerry survive this?"
Maybe not. Crackberry no more? We'll see what happens over the next few months.