BlackBerry Messenger Is Apparently Down In Saudi Arabia [UPDATED]

The news is hitting the wires that Saudi Arabia has appeared to have shut down BlackBerry Messenger:

“It has stopped,” said a BlackBerry user in the western port of Jeddah, adding that his friends also noticed that the services were being phased out on their devices.

Now people will actually have to call their friends rather than type messages to them. But so far no other BlackBerry services seem to be affected. That may have something to do with talks between RIM and the Saudis according to The Globe And Mail:

Talks between maker Research In Motion and the Saudi telecom regulator have made progress, a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations said Thursday night.

“RIM showed on Thursday a degree of flexibility that has not been there over the past three months. Progress is being made. We started debating the technicalities of new setups,” the source said.

Hopefully RIM doesn’t fold up like a cheap suit. Not that they could even if they wanted to provided these governments the ability to snoop into the BlackBerry usage of their citizens. Security and the fact that e-mail is bulletproof are the main reasons to have a BlackBerry. Dumb down the security part and RIM might has well fold up shop and go home.

Either way, I suspect the end game is near and this will get sorted out in the next few days.

UPDATE: The BBC posted a story at 11:51 EST that everything is back to normal. I’m not sure what that means.  Any ideas?

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