Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion Tuesday said the problems that have plagued users of its BlackBerry smartphones worldwide for two days were caused by a core switch failure within the company's infrastructure.

RIM said that a transition to a backup switch did not function as tested, causing a large backlog of data.

In an update Tuesday, it said it is now working to clear the backlog and restore normal service as soon as possible.

Users in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and India were having problems sending and receiving messages on BlackBerry's popular messaging service, BlackBerry Messenger or BBM.

On Monday, RIM said its services were fully operational and that a problem with delays in subscriber services had been fixed.

But RIM acknowledged there were ongoing problems Tuesday. and that it was "working to restore normal service as quickly as possible."

Users vent on Twitter

Angry smartphone users posted on Twitter to vent frustration with the company and bemoan the loss of their messaging capabilities, questioning why the company took so long to restore services.

A technology analyst said the continuing technical glitches are likely casting a pall on the firm's image and undermining its fight for market share against the Apple and Android smartphones.

"The current perception of Research In Motion is becoming increasingly more negative and this does little to stem that trend," Kreher said from St. Louis, Mo.

RIM is being hurt by the "ongoing loss of market share and the ineffectiveness of current management, to be blunt" he said, adding he isn't optimistic that the new generation of BlackBerry smartphones hitting the market next year will make a difference.

RIM has about 70 million BlackBerry subscribers around the world.

As RIM dealt with the latest technical issues, shareholder Jaguar Financial Corp. raised its pressure on the firm to either split itself up or conduct a management shakeup.

Jaguar CEO Vic Alboini said it and 11 other institutional shareholders — who don’t want to be named — want changes. Together they own eight per cent of the stock.

Alboini said the most immediate change that could happen would be the appointment of an independent chairperson to RIM's board. Five of the nine directors would have to agree to that.

RIM faces major hurdles as it deals with mounting competition in the smartphone market and the growing speculation among analysts and industry experts that its days of rapid growth are behind it.

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press