By Cho Mu-hyun
Millions of smartphone users complained of disruption Saturday after Kakao Talk, the country’s leading instant messenger service for mobile Internet devices, was paralyzed for several hours.
Kakao Talk, which boasts more than 40 million subscribers here, abruptly alerted its users around 2:50 p.m. that it needed to conduct an emergency server check-up that will continue until 4 p.m. and that its messenger and Kakao Story picture upload services will be inaccessible during that time. But it wasn’t until 7 p.m. that Kakao Talk managed to go back online.
The company explained that the disruption was caused by a power outage at its data center in southern Seoul, operated by information technology and systems company, LG CNS.
``Our partners are very important to the Kakao team, and we believe that the disruption was unavoidable as our partners are among the top corporations in the world,” the company said in a statement. ``We will cooperate to avoid any problems happening again. We will make more money to activate power conservative data centers in each continent to ensure safer maintenance.
“The direct reason for the disruption was due to power problems in servers located in Korea. We have never had this problem before as there are usually two to three safety devices on our systems. We will look into the precise nature of the power problem with our partner companies.”
Kakao Talk claimed that the long delay in recuperating the server was unavoidable as thousands of server stations had to be checked. Finding the cause, returning power, reactivating the server and programs supposedly caused the additional 50 minute delay after power returned to the center, according to a company official.
Rivals clearly benefited from Kakao Talk’s troubles as data from Apple’s App Store, the content platform for iPhones and iPads, show that the downloads of other messenger services like Line, T-Tok’’ and My People spiked.
Kakao Talk started in March 2010, and reached 10 million subscribers as of April 1, 2011. The messenger service provider has 44 million users globally, 10 million of which are non-Koreans.