Free apps for Blackberry owners

Blackberry handsets
Image caption Compensation for customers may not undo all the damage wrought by a three-day stoppage

Classic games such as Bejeweled and The Sims are being offered free to Blackberry owners.

The games, plus personal productivity tools and utilities, are compensation for a three-day global blackout that started on 10 October.

A faulty switch at a data centre left millions around the world unable to use messaging and web browsing services on their handsets.

The free apps will become available for four weeks from 19 October.

Critical problem

In a statement announcing the giveaway, Mike Laziridis, chief of Blackberry owner Research in Motion, apologised again for the three-day service stoppage.

"We are grateful to our loyal Blackberry customers for their patience," he said. "We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again."

RIM faced serious criticism over the stoppage. Thousands of people turned to Twitter and other social media networks to express their poor opinion of the company and its stuttering efforts to fix the problems.

In total, 12 apps are being offered to customers and RIM said more would be made available in the coming weeks.

As well as games such as Texas Hold'em Poker and Bubble Bash 2, users can get Photo Editor Ultimate and pro. The software is available via the Blackberry App World store.

The programs, which Blackberry claims are worth more than $100 (£63), will be free until 31 December 2011.

Business customers are being offered a free month of technical support. Those who already have a support contract will be offered a month of Blackberry's enhanced support service.

Analysts said the package of apps may not go far enough.

"RIM has responded swiftly but this won't undo the damage done to its reputation," said Geoff Blaber from CCS Insight. "This may go some way to appeasing customers but what's critical is that the problem does not repeat itself."

Mobile operators are also mulling compensation packages for customers. Spanish telecoms firm Telefonica, which owns the UK's O2, said it would offer a package to customers but it is not clear what form it will take.

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