BlackBerry users have been 'let down,' RIM exec says

A three-day BlackBerry data outage has come to an end. On Thursday, RIM founder Mike Lazaridis took to the Web to apologize to users.

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    BlackBerry data services are now mostly back online after a crippling outage, RIM representatives announced Thursday.
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Research in Motion founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis took to the Web this week to apologize for a crippling three-day outage that affected hundreds of thousands of BlackBerry users. "We've let many of you down," Mr. Lazaridis said in a video message (see below). "But let me assure you we are working around the clock to fix this. You expect better from us and I expect better from us."

The problem was reportedly caused by a hardware glitch, and the subsequent failure of a backup system. Service around the world has been mostly restored, Lazaridis said, although he stressed that it was "too soon to say that this issue is fully resolved." The outage has been a publicity nightmare for RIM, which embarked Thursday on what one tech blog called an "apology parade."

Still, that parade hasn't been enough to quell RIM's most virulent critics. "Windows Phone 7.5 has been rolling out for a couple of weeks now with great reviews, and Android users haven't experienced any huge service outages for their OS either," writes Jesse Bauer of Technorati. "It certainly makes RIM look foolish when compared to their competition. We may be seeing the end of the BlackBerry era sooner than we think."

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RIM has struggled in recent months to maintain its foothold in the smartphone and tablet market. In July, the hardware manufacturer announced it would slash approximately 2,000 jobs worldwide, or about 10.5 percent of its workforce. "The workforce reduction is believed to be a prudent and necessary step for the long term success of the company," reps wrote at the time.

Meanwhile, RIM has struggled to gin up excitement around the PlayBook, a tablet computer released in April.

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