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RIM offers free apps to customers after outage

Trying to make amends for massive outages last week, Research In Motion announced a free premium apps giveaway for millions of its customers who may still feel jolted, and a month of technical support for some.

The Canadian company said Monday that the apps, worth more than $100, will be made available over the coming weeks on BlackBerry(at) App World. They include iSpeech Translator, Bejeweled and Texas Hold'em Poker 2. The offer runs until the end of the year.

Reseach in Motion also will offer its enterprise customers a month of free technical support.

Last week's blackout interrupted email and Internet services for tens of millions of users globally and left company leaders apologizing profusely.

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BlackBerry phones are already struggling to keep pace with competitors like Apple Inc.'s iPhone and shares of Research In Motion have already paid a price.

Whether the handouts will sooth customers is not yet known, but it was clear that investors were still not in a forgiving mood Monday.

Shares of Research in Motion Ltd. slumped more than 4 percent, or 99 cents, to $23. Earlier this year, shares traded above $70 each.

In a statement, RIM said that the free apps are a token of its appreciation for customer patience.

"We are grateful to our loyal BlackBerry customers for their patience," RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis said in a statement today. "We have apologized to our customers and we will work tirelessly to restore their confidence. We are taking immediate and aggressive steps to help prevent something like this from happening again."

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