Research in Motion's founder and co-CEO Mike Lazaridis has posted a video apology to BlackBerry users regarding the recent service outage that spanned several countries and continents earlier this week. The service disruption left tens of millions of RIM faithful unable to check email, use BlackBerry Messenger and browse the web.

In the video, Lazaridis offers a heartfelt apology regarding the downtime and indicates that it's still too soon to say the issue is fully resolved. The company is approaching normal service levels in Europe, India, the Middle East and Africa and they are continuing to monitor the system. The RIM founder does say that there could be some continued instability as the issue works towards being fully resolved, however.

The downtime is being blamed on a core switch failure within RIM's infrastructure. The backup system did not initialize as it should have, resulting in extended downtime and delayed restoration.

The timing couldn't be worse for the struggling handset manufacturer. Apple's iPhone 4S is being launched in multiple countries tomorrow while Android already has several quality handsets on the market and even more attractive options looming on the horizon. It's highly likely that at least a few disgruntled RIM users could be making a switch very soon.

Last month we reported that the company was cutting BlackBerry PlayBook prices for a second time in an attempt to move what is believed to be 800,000 excess units in inventory. Additionally, several thousand job cuts were announced in July as part of a cost-cutting effort.