By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, March 4 BlackBerry Ltd suffered a network outage affecting some users in Canada and the Asia-Pacific region that was resolved hours later, the smartphone and technology company said on Tuesday, at a sensitive time for the once-mighty tech titan.
The outage hit Canada's leading mobile network, according to a memo sent to some customers of both BlackBerry and Rogers Communications Inc. Rogers later said the issue was affecting some customers with all domestic carriers and that it didn't affect those using BlackBerry's latest BB10 devices.
Another major Canadian carrier, Telus Corp, said some of their customers were affected, and directed further inquiries to BlackBerry, which said it had identified a potential cause and was working on a fix.
BlackBerry later said the problems had been fixed and services resumed for all users in the affected regions.
The outage came at a tricky time for the Waterloo, Ontario-based company, which has shrunk back from the hypercompetitive smartphone-making business to home in on secure messaging services for business and government customers.
BlackBerry runs its own global network, working closely with telecommunications companies and networks, to deliver BlackBerry messages more securely and in a more compressed way than rivals.
But customers have defected in droves in recent years, lured away by larger, touchscreen models running Google's Android software and by Apple's game-changing iPhone.
A massive, days-long BlackBerry outage in October 2011 bruised the company's already declining reputation. The company has since removed two sets of senior executives and called off a sale process late last year.
BlackBerry was once the device of choice of Wall Street bankers, Washington politicians and others who prized its mobile email.
Canadianoutages.com, a website that collates customer complaints about various technology services including Internet and wireless communications, showed a spike in complaints about BlackBerry starting early on Tuesday morning.
BlackBerry shares were up 0.6 percent by midafternoon in Nasdaq trade, but at just $10.43 were far below historic peaks last seen several years ago.