Blackberry was down again Wednesday as millions of users reported a third day of service outages, including next to no email access, internet browsing or messaging, with fresh reports of service disruptions in Canada and the United States.
Blackberry's manufacturer Research in Motion has blamed the continuing service outages on a "core switch failure within RIM's infrastructure," but has failed to clearly explain when the problem will be resolved, causing mounting frustration among Blackberry users.
RIM admitted Wednesday that the Blackberry service issue had spread to North America.
"Research In Motion advised some clients on Wednesday that it was dealing with a Blackberry outage in the Americas similar to service disruptions that have cropped up in other parts of the world," Reuters reports.
"Welcome to the Blackberry outage, America," one Twitter user wrote.
Blackberry customers on five continents have been affected by the Blackberry blackout, with problems reported in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, India, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and now Canada and the United States.
The continuing Blackberry blackout is expected to affect RIM's market share, already hurt in the United States by the growing popularity of Android smartphones and Apple's iPhone. The much-hyped iPhone 4S goes on sale Friday.
Blackberry has so far remained strong in developing countries, including Nigeria and South Africa, where it is seen as an aspirational brand, according to Arthur Goldstuck of World Wide Worx, a Johannesburg-based market research company.
On Wednesday, South African telecom company Vodacom warned its Blackberry customers that "services could remain impaired for the remainder of today. We apologize on behalf of RIM for this."
Canada's CP24 news channel reports that Blackberry users in Toronto have complained of being cut off from email, Blackberry Messenger and internet services.
In the United States, employees of public broadcaster NPR were reportedly facing problems with delivery of emails.
The RIM crash has sparked Blackberry jokes on Twitter, including a multitude of suggestions for uses of a service-less smartphone.
"Doorstop, paper weight, righting a wonky table leg, dog chew, baby comforter.." tweeted one user.
"The only thing my #blackberry can do right now is make phone calls... Who uses a blackberry to make phone calls?" asked another.
Hayibo, a satirical South African "news" website, said that "Blackberry users were reporting impromptu sobbing fits and one in three admitted briefly contemplating taking up a hobby."
On Tuesday, Canada-based RIM announced that services were operating normally and the issue had been resolved. Only a few hours later, Blackberry was down again.
RIM also admitted Tuesday that the crash was affecting users in Latin America, with service disruptions reported in Brazil, Argentina and Chile.
"Some areas have messaging delays and impaired browsing. We’re working to restore normal service as quickly as possible," RIM's Twitter feed said.