NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Research In Motion approached nine-year lows Friday as its Blackberry service went down in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
THE SPARK: The company announced widespread problems on Facebook and Twitter, and said it fixed the troubles after a few hours. It apologized to customers for the inconvenience.
It was around this time last year that the longest BlackBerry outage in many years left customers outraged. The three-day blackout interrupted email and Internet services for tens of millions of frustrated users.
The timing of the outage Friday could not have been worse. Thousands of people line up outside of Apple stores for the launch of the iPhone 5, sending shares of Apple Inc. to an all-time high.
THE ANALYSIS: Steven Li of Raymond James said that Research In Motion's latest Blackberry is now delayed until the first quarter of next year. LG Electronics is set to roll out its Optimus G Android smartphone next week in South Korea.
Other companies making Android devices include Samsung Electronics Co., HTC Corp. and Motorola Mobility, which Google now owns.
Li says the heated competition diminishes Research In Motion's chances of a comeback and says that a sale of the company is likely needed to unlock value.
Research In Motion Ltd. will report its second-quarter financial results Thursday.
SHARE ACTION: Shares of Research In Motion Ltd. declined 41 cents to $6.50 in afternoon trading. The stock has lost more than half its value for the year.