(ONTARIO, Canada) -- BlackBerry is sorry. Very, very sorry.
At a conference call Thursday morning, the company announced it had all services "back up globally." But amid slipping market shares and an uncertain future, saying "sorry" may not be enough to solve the public relation problems caused by this week's worldwide service interruptions and win over disgruntled customers.
The company says there is still a backlog of wireless emails that may delay some messages. It could not say how quickly it would be over.
Mike Lazaridis, founder of BlackBerry's Canadian parent company, Research In Motion, appeared Thursday morning in a YouTube video to say, "Since launching BlackBerry in 1999, it's been my goal to provide reliable, real-time communications around the world. We did not deliver on that goal this week. Not even close."
"I apologize for the service outages this week," he said. "We've let many of you down."
Looking tired and stressed in a black shirt with a BlackBerry logo, Lazaridis said service was approaching normal levels in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. He promised that the company would work around the clock to get the problems solved.
But they surfaced on Monday, and Lazaridis did not appear until Thursday. Public relations executives who specialize in what is known as crisis management say the slow public response was almost as disastrous for RIM as the technical breakdowns in BlackBerry service.
Ronn Torossian, the CEO of 5W Public Relations, said RIM had failed to show a human face in the early days of the problem. Instead, it responded slowly -- with gibberish.
"Blackberry spokespersons are communicating with messages like 'Message delays were caused by a core switch failure in RIM's infrastructure,'" Torossian said in an email. "That's not consumer-friendly English which resonates with people, and few of us know -- or care -- what a 'core switch' is. We just want our damn BlackBerries to work."
Lazaridis told reporters RIM has had a reliability record this year -- at least until this week -- of 99.97 percent. And he said Monday's outage, which happened without warning, was the largest the company had ever experienced.
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