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BlackBerry E-mail Service Crashes, RIM Tries To Bring It Back To Life

Users of the popular BlackBerry wireless e-mail service woke up Wednesday to find the service wasn't working. The system underwent a massive failure that began at about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Research In Motion urged its customers to make backup plans while it gradually resets the service in stages Wednesday morning. The service interruption covered the entire Western Hemisphere as BlackBerry users found e-mails weren't being pushed to their handsets.

In a statement, RIM said: "Please be advised that we are currently experiencing a service interruption that is causing delays in sending or receiving messages."

RIM said it would reset the service in steps Wednesday morning because it doesn't want to overwhelm the system with a sudden and sweeping reset of service.

The company relentlessly has been adding new users at a rapid rate in recent months, even as analysts have predicted sales of the popular e-mail device would encounter new competition. In its most recent quarter ended March 3, RIM said it had added more than 1 million new users, bringing its entire user population to 8 million.