The service failure of RIM 's BlackBerry messaging service in North America, which began on Tuesday night, may have just been a temporary outage, but it had all the makings of a technological nightmare for some BlackBerry addicted business users.

There were reports of dazed and confused Wall Street business people staring blankly at their handheld's screen while their email services were interrupted, while politicians, lawyers and other professionals faced up to life without their email to hand.

According to Reuters reports , the White House was affected by the disruption to the service while politicians on Capitol Hill struggled in the absence of their "CrackBerrys".

"I felt like my left arm had been amputated, " Reuters quoted Joe Shoemaker, communications director for a US senator, as saying.

Backlog problems

With a backlog of emails to be delivered after the service was restored, some users found themselves still suffering the after effects of missed emails into Wednesday. Reuters reported on missed appointments for lawyers, trading problems for Wall Street workers, and even White House spokesperson Tony Fratto apologising to journalists for missing emails at a morning briefing.

And to add a Romeo and Juliet-esque twist to the technological breakdown, there were reports of at least one romantic bust-up as an email argument was interrupted by the outage. Rafael Paz, a loss control specialist for a car rental agency, was apparently dumped by his girlfriend who thought he was ignoring her emails.

RIM's BlackBerry service has 8 million subscribers worldwide and dominates the corporate mobile email market. The US is the biggest market for the Canadian company.