BlackBerry services come sputtering back

NEW YORK (AP) ? BlackBerry services buzzed back to life across the world Thursday, after a three-day outage that interrupted email messages and Internet services for millions of customers.

Research In Motion Ltd., the Canadian company that makes the phones, posted a statement that says services are improving.

Many BlackBerry users have been unable to send and receive emails and messages in an outage that started Monday in Europe. Web browsers haven’t been working either. On Thursday morning, BlackBerry users on Twitter and online forums were reporting that their phones were buzzing with incoming messages again.

RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis apologized for the outage in a video posted to the company’s site Thursday morning.

“It’s too soon to say that this issue is fully resolved,” Lazaridis said. “I’d like to give you an estimated time of full recovery around the world, but I cannot do this with certainty at this time.”

A crucial link in BlackBerry’s European network failed Monday, and a backup also failed. Although the underlying issues were quickly repaired, the system had built up a backlog of emails and messages that needed to be wound down. Meanwhile, messages destined for Europe were piling up at BlackBerry data centers in the rest of world. By Wednesday, the outage had spread to the U.S. and Canada, slowing service to a crawl there.

RIM shares were down 35 cents, or 1.5 percent, at $23.53 in premarket trading in New York. Investors have taken the outage in stride, figuring that it’s only one of many problems RIM is facing. The shares are up slightly since the outage began.