RIM apologizes for BlackBerry downtime with $100 worth of free apps

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Research in Motion is offering BlackBerry owners $100 worth of free apps and one month of free technical support on top of formally apologizing for last week’s extended downtime that affected its mobile services both locally and aboard.

The apps can be obtained via the BlackBerry App World mobile store and include iSpeech Translator, Bejeweled and Texas Hold’em Poker 2, with the offer expiring at the end of the year. The free month of technical support is available to enterprise customers only, according to the Associated Press.

Last Thursday, RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis issued an official apology to BlackBerry users for the meltdown that left a significant number of users without data, roaming and messaging support for multiple days. However, neither he nor anyone else at the company has specifically addressed the cause of the outages or what steps are being taken to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

The BlackBerry services downtime started last Monday and affected users in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India. After a second day of outages in international markets, BlackBerry services went down in the USA on Wednesday.

Ever before the that fiasco, RIM was facing increasing difficulties competing against rival mobile device solutions from Apple and Android device manufacturers. The Canadian device maker moved only 200,000 PlayBook units last quarter compared to the 9.3 million iPad units Apple shipped. Its monthly sales average of 4 million BlackBerry smartphones was also recently matched by Apple's new iPhone 4S in just 72 hours.

In an attempt to stem its downward momentum in its mobile division and offer customers the promise of continued innovation, RIM is reportedly preparing to launch a new mobile operating system for BlackBerry devices that “leap frogs the mobile industry,' according to yet unsubstantiated claims from Co-CEO Jim Balsillie.

Shares of RIM have bled more than two-thirds of their value so far this year and now trade at $22.48.


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