Talk about lousy timing. Shares in Research In Motion are down 6.5% this afternoon after it reported that BlackBerry users in much of Europe and Africa lost their Internet and email services for as long as three hours. The problem affected about 6% of its customers, RIM chief Thorsten Heins said in a note on the company’s site. “I want to apologize to those BlackBerry customers in Europe and Africa who experienced an impact in their quality of service earlier this morning,” he said. “The BlackBerry service is now fully restored and I can report that no data or messages were lost…We are conducting a full technical analysis of this quality of service issue and will report as soon as it concludes.” The interruption hit just as consumers across the globe lined up for their first chance to put their hands on Apple’s new iPhone 5 — which is sure make inroads among the business customers who had been among the most loyal Blackberry users.

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