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BlackBerry Blackout Continues: RIM Says 'Sorry'

BlackBerry founder says "sorry" for outage, but doesn't offer specific time frame for network to return to 100 percent.

It is day four of a global BlackBerry outage and Research In Motion can't say when the blackout affecting millions of users will end. The company’s founder Mike Lazaridis apologized on Thursday in a video message to BlackBerry users, saying services "are returning to normal” in parts of the world, but he wasn’t able to say when they will be fully restored.

"We know we've let many of you down. You expect more from us. I expect more from us," Lazaridis said in the video message. “We are now approaching normal levels in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa,” he claimed, as millions of customers worldwide had their messaging and email services disrupted since Monday, October 10.

As the outage spread from Europe to Latin America and North America through to Wednesday, server problems originating at RIM’s UK data center were blamed for up to 70 million BlackBerry users’ inability to use various features of their phones, including emails and messenger.

“I'd like to give an estimated time for full recovery round the world but I cannot do this at this time," Lazaridis added. Just before midnight (PT), RIM also said service levels are “progressing well in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.” As services are restored, it is expected to take some time for users to receive their entire backlog of emails.

In the U.S., RIM said on Wednesday that email systems, BBM and browsing services are operational, as the company continues to clear backlogged messages.

Bad Timing

The global BlackBerry outage could not have come at a worse time for RIM. On Friday, Apple’s iPhone 4S is set to go on sale after record-breaking one million pre-orders in just 24 hours. Glowing reviews for the iPhone 4S coupled with a sleeve of cloud services integrated into iOS 5 (available now), are further jeopardizing RIM’s declining smartphone market share.

This week Twitter has been abuzz with users expressing their dissatisfaction with the BlackBerry outage: “Dear BlackBerry, we're done. It's not me it's you. You shouldn't have gone down on millions of people. Goodbye,” wrote one user. “Its too late BlackBerry, you've disappointed me on ? high level... switching in ? couple hours,” another posted.

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