RIM offers free premium apps as mea culpa for BlackBerry blackout

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Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) will offer a selection of premium mobile applications for free as a token of its appreciation for customers' patience during last week's BlackBerry service outage.

BlackBerry services went down across the globe last week, impacting millions of subscribers. RIM blamed the outages on a core switch failure in its network infrastructure that effectively throttled data delivery. "You expect better of us," RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said on a conference call with reporters late last week. "I expect better of us. We've now restored full services."

RIM now will offer a series of premium mobile apps valued at more than $100 as free downloads from its BlackBerry App World storefront. Beginning Oct. 19, BlackBerry users can download free apps including Gameloft's SIMS 3, Bejeweled and N.O.V.A., Shazam Encore, Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant, Ice Cold Apps' Photo Editor Ultimate and iSpeech.org's DriveSafe.ly Pro and iSpeech Translator Pro. RIM also will offer enterprise customers one month of free technical support.

In a statement, Lazaridis said RIM will "work tirelessly" to restore BlackBerry customers' confidence. "We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again," he added.

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