Toronto: Research In Motion has said it had restored service to millions of BlackBerry users affected by a three-hour service outage in Europe and Africa on Friday, embarrassing the company on the same day Apple Inc launched its new iPhone.
The disruption echoed a much larger failure that took down BlackBerry service for much of the world last October, and boded poorly for the struggling smartphone maker's turnaround plans.
Shares of Waterloo, Ontario-based RIM fell more than 6 percent and threatened to breach their lowest point since 2003 less than a week before a quarterly financial report widely expected to show a loss.
RIM's chief executive, Thorsten Heins, later issued an apology to BlackBerry users who were affected. He said as much as 6 percent of its customer base - or nearly 5 million users - may have experienced email delays of as long as three hours.
"We are conducting a full technical analysis of this quality of service issue and will report as soon as it concludes," Heins said in the emailed statement. "I again want to apologize to those customers who were impacted today."
RIM made similar promises but has yet to provide a complete picture of what caused last year's four-day outage that left tens of millions of frustrated BlackBerry users on five continents without email, instant messaging and browsing. The disruption coincided with the launch of the iPhone 4S, the new model's predecessor.
That fault occurred in a facility in England. It initially affected Europe and surrounding regions before spreading to North and South America. It took days for RIM's chiefs to apologise over the problems and the company's handling of the issue was heavily criticised.
With Agency Inputs