How Web Outages Stole the Show in 2011

Technology has made several giant leaps in mobility, social networking, online video and gaming in 2011.  But while the rave party is still on to celebrate previous year’s accomplishments, some companies are still on the road to recovery from the mishaps that struck them this past year. One of the glaring lowlights of 2011 include web outages that prompted setbacks for affected organizations. Some technological catastrophes were traced to own shortcoming, but many were inflicted by cyber hackers.

The 3-Day Blackberry Depression

The world was alarmed after RIM’s three-day network outage that affected millions of Blackberry users, particularly in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The business sector, which is thought to be BlackBerry’s biggest fan, was angered when suddenly they could not access their email, calendar appointments and BlackBerry Messenger or BBM. Consequently, users’ trust and confidence on this leading mobile brand declined radically.

Amidst the misfortune, the Canadian mobile carrier is firm on saying no to selling shares to foreign investors, promising a rebound for 2012. Sadly, the new year greeted Blackberries sourly, with sales still inexorably dropping each day.

Sony’s Month Long Nightmare

Gamers around the world found themselves crippled Sony’s PlayStation Network in April. The scare lasted for nearly a month, with a series of investigations to hopefully trace the untraceable hackers that placed millions of users’ information at risk. To prevent the further dismay, one of the executives addressed the PlayStation outage issues in an important event last spring. Sony engineers also constructed a new network system to avert outages and privacy breaches in the future.

AWS Slip in the Cloud

Migrating to cloud has been an enormous issue for many companies in 2011.  While the benefits seemed luring, there are still several people who doubting whether the cloud could provide them with efficiency they require.  Hesitation grew when Amazon Web Services went down several times in April. The temporary zone maintenance affected several big brand companies, including Netflix, Foursquare, Reddit, Quora and others.


Aside from teaching us how to lose 1 million customers in a month with a price hike, NetFlix experienced a series of short web interruptions in 2011 that led to even more dissatisfied customers. The last quarter may have been one of redemption, recording a whopping 2 billion hours of movies and TV series streaming. The rest of the year was not as promising for NetFlix.

Microsoft Didn’t Escape Outages Either

Microsoft’s cloud-based email services outage caused an international panic in September. Millions of Hotmail and Skydrive users’ information were exposed to some unknown entities in the web universe. But the giant was quick to respond and was able to resolve the issue within hours.

With stunning victories for the likes of Apple, Android and Facebook, there were equally spectacular failures from big companies like RIM and Sony. It’s the yin and the yang of running a tech business in this day and age, only improving with each lesson learned.