BlackBerry Blackout Spreads, Hits N. America - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

CONSUMER ALERT: Blackberry Maker Says Service Is Fully Restored

LONDON (AP) - BlackBerry services buzzed back to life Thursday across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India, after a three-day outage that interrupted email messages and Internet services for millions of customers.

Research In Motion Ltd., the Canadian company that makes the phones, posted a statement Thursday that says services are better. BlackBerry users around the world have faced huge problems over the past few days getting and receiving emails and messages, as well as launching Internet services.

The company says it will monitor the situation around the clock to make sure there's no repeat.

Research In Motion said a crucial link in its European infrastructure failed Monday, and that its backup also failed. Although the underlying issues have been repaired, the system had built up a backlog of emails and messages that needed to be wound down.

The failure in Europe soon spread to regions all round the world, including the U.S. and Asia.

Users fumed and confidence in the brand was strained, at a time the company is fighting a big battle with Apple Inc. — the timing of the outage was particularly unfortunate as it came on the launch of Apple's new iPhone.

Although the underlying issues were quickly repaired, the system had built up a backlog of emails and messages that needed to be wound down. Meanwhile, messages destined for the affected countries were piling up at BlackBerry data centers in the rest of world, slowing service everywhere. By Wednesday, the outage had spread to the U.S. and Canada.

Lazaridis and co-CEO Jim Balsillie said they had not made plans yet to compensate customers, but they are turning their attention to the question.

"That is something we plan to come back to these customers on very soon. ... Our priority right up until this moment (has been) making sure the system's up and running," Balsillie said. "We're going to fully commit to win that trust back."

BlackBerry users don't pay the company directly for its email and messaging services. Instead, the phone companies pay RIM on behalf of their subscribers. Balsillie said carriers haven't asked for compensation yet.

"This has not been about pointing fingers," he said. "This has been about serving customers."

RIM shares were down 58 cents, or 2.4 percent, at $23.28 in morning trading in New York. Investors have taken the outage in stride, figuring that it's only one of many problems RIM is facing. The shares are down less than 1 percent since the outage began.

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