File photo Although RIM has not made any announcement yet, the speculation that it could lay off somewhere between 2,000 and 6,000 employees from its global workforce of 16,500 has people worried and talking.

Technical glitches that have affected millions of BlackBerry
users around the world spread to Canada on Wednesday morning as outages
were reported for the smartphone’s text and email services by some
users.

It was the third day of problems for Research In Motion (RIM) as it struggled to repair what it said was a failure within
the company’s own infrastructure.

The list of affected regions
included Europe, the Middle East, Africa and some areas of South
America, as well as Asian markets including Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore
and India.

RIM has about 70 million BlackBerry subscribers around the world.

The
outage spread to Canada on Wednesday with users posting messages on
Twitter that said they were unable to access their email, text and
Internet browsing services.

The networks appeared to return to normal in Canada briefly before crumbling again.

RIM said it’s now working to get through a backlog of traffic.

“The resolution of this service issue is our Number One priority right now and we are working night and day to restore all BlackBerry services to normal levels,” the company said in a statement Wednesday.

Canadian carriers said some of their BlackBerry customers were affected.

Bell spokesman Mark Langton said BlackBerry email service was back on line, but there would be delays as queued messages get cleared.

“BBM and Internet browsing not yet back online,” Langton said in an email.

Some Rogers and Telus  customers were also affected by the outage.

“RIM
has advised us that they are working on the problem and expect to have
it resolved very soon,” Telus spokesman Jim Johannsson said.

The
extended series of outages affecting large portions of the world are a
major blow to RIM which has already been struggling for market share
against the Apple and Android smartphones.

Several users took to
their Twitter accounts to proclaim that the downtime has pushed them to
start searching for an alternative to their BlackBerry.

RIM
earns revenue from both the sale of its smartphone devices and a
monthly fee subscribers pay to use its secure email services and instant
messaging capabilities, which means users switching to other phones
could eat away at its profits.

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