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BlackBerry services beginning to be restored

Research In Motion's chief information officer updates BlackBerry customers on restoring service, saying e-mail is back worldwide, and messaging has returned in the Americas.

Research In Motion has posted an update on its Web site listing the current status of service for its beleaguered worldwide e-mail and messaging service.

RIM Chief Information Officer Robin Bienfait noted that e-mail systems are working worldwide, though the company is continuing to clear backlogged messages. In the United States, Canada, and Latin America, the BlackBerry Messenger and browsing service are running as well, though there are still reports of delays. In Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa, the browsing service is still unavailable.

"You've depended on us for reliable, real-time communications, and right now we're letting you down," Bienfait said in a statement. "We are taking this very seriously and have people around the world working around the clock to address this situation."

The outage began Monday, knocking out e-mail and messaging services in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and parts of South America. This morning, BlackBerry customers in North America and Asia were hit with e-mails and BBM message delays.

Earlier today, RIM's CTO for software, David Yach, told reporters on a conference call that the outage was caused by a failure of a core switch at one of the company's network operation centers in Europe and then a failure in redundant backup systems. As European systems cratered, a backlog of data piled up on BlackBerry servers.

Bienfait's update noted that the company is adding capacity in the United States to help with international message delivery. But otherwise, service has been restored. In Canada, service is also running.

As for the company's Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa operations, its technical support group is monitoring "service stability." But it has yet to bring that service online. Those problems have also affected three carrier networks in Latin America that use infrastructure from RIM's Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa operations.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. PT with more details and analysis.