Research In Motion (RIM) today announced that it will offer those affected by recent disruptions in service a selection of premium apps for free. The apps will be made available to customers over the coming weeks on BlackBerry App World and will continue to be available until Dec. 31, 2011.

"Our global network supports the communications needs of more than 70 million customers," said RIM Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis in a statement. "We truly appreciate and value our relationship with our customers.  We've worked hard to earn their trust over the past 12 years, and we're committed to providing the high standard of reliability they expect, today and in the future."

The complete selection of premium apps will become available to download at BlackBerry App World over a period of four weeks beginning Wednesday, Oct. 19.  The selections over this period will include: SIMS 3, Bejeweled, N.O.V.A., Gameloft, Texas Hold'em Poker 2, Bubble Bash 2, Photo Editor Ultimate, Pro, iSpeech Translator Pro, Drive Enterprise, Nobex Radio Premium, Shazam Encore and Vlingo Plus: Virtual Assistant.

In addition to the free apps, RIM's enterprise customers will be offered one month of free technical support, and current customers will be offered a complimentary one month extension of their existing technical support contract. Customers who do not currently have a technical support contract will be offered a one month trial of RIM's BlackBerry Technical Support Services - Enhanced Support, free of charge. 

The outage, which the company said was the largest in its history, began last Monday and spread throughout Europe, India, Africa, the Middle East and the United States.  The company at least partially acknowledged the problems, releasing various statements along the way that described "message delays," but as the outage spread, RIM addressed the problems more directly.

On Thursday, Lazaridis issued an apologetic statement via a YouTube video. "Since launching BlackBerry in 1999, it's been my goal to provide reliable, real-time communications around the world," Lazaridis said. "We did not deliver on that goal this week. Not even close...I apologize for the service outages this week. We've let many of you down."

Service appears to be back up and running as of this morning but not without raising further concerns about a company that is already struggling. To make matters worse, Apple's iPhone 4S hit stores on Friday, giving BlackBerry users yet one more reason to consider another option.