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RIM co-CEO issues video apology to BlackBerry users

Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis says he expects "better" from RIM, just like his customers do.

Research In Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.
Research In Motion co-CEO Mike Lazaridis.
James Martin/CNET

Research In Motion's BlackBerry service outages have prompted the company's co-CEO Mike Lazaridis to issue a video apology to customers.

"Since launching BlackBerry in 1999, it's been my goal to provide reliable real-time communications around the world," Lazaridis said in a video posted on his company's Web site today. "We did not deliver on that goal this week--not even close. I apologize for the service outages this week. We've let many of you down."

The trouble for RIM started earlier this week when the company's e-mail, messaging, and Web service went down across the world, starting in Europe, the Mideast, and Africa and eventually spreading to the U.S. and Canada. On Tuesday, the company said that the outages were caused by a "core switch failure within RIM's infrastructure" and that the fallover to a "back-up switch" failed to function properly.

As expected, RIM faced outcry from users who were displeased with the outage, including many who took to Twitter to say they might switch to another platform. Following that, RIM Chief Information Officer Robin Bienfait apologized yesterday and added that e-mail and browsing were back up in the U.S.

The blunder is yet another major setback for RIM. Over the past year, the company's mobile market share has been slipping as Android and iOS expand their base. In turn, RIM's revenue and profit figures are down year over year. Worst of all, the company's shareholders are ditching the stock in tremendous numbers. Over the last 12 months, RIM shares have dipped nearly 52 percent.

Although Lazaridis didn't discuss those other issues, he acknowledged that RIM's customers "expect better from us," adding that he too expects "better" from RIM.

But for users around the globe, an apology is best if it comes with an assurance that the service issues have been rectified. Unfortunately for those folks, Lazaridis couldn't provide that assurance and said that "it's too soon to say that this issue is fully resolved." What's more, Lazaridis said that he expects "to see continued progress and possibly some instability as the system comes back to normal service levels everywhere."

RIM plans to hold a conference call at 7 a.m. PT today to provide more details on the BlackBerry service issues. Check back for CNET's coverage of that event.

Lazaridis' statement to BlackBerry users: