AMITIAE - Sunday 22 September 2013

Cassandra: How not to run the Show - BBM for iOS (not)

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

From the looks of entries on Facebook this morning, many users downloaded the long-awaited Blackberry Messenger (BBM) app from the iTunes App Store overnight. However, as is reported by Rene Ritchie on iMore, the app has now been withdrawn.

The official reason from BlackBerry is . . .

Prior to launching BBM for Android, an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app was posted online. The interest and enthusiasm we have seen already - more than 1.1 million active users in the first 8 hours without even launching the official Android app - is incredible. Consequently, this unreleased version caused issues, which we have attempted to address throughout the day.

Our teams continue to work around the clock to bring BBM to Android and iPhone, but only when it's ready and we know it will live up to your expectations of BBM. We are pausing the global roll-out of BBM for Android and iPhone. Customers who have already downloaded BBM for iPhone will be able to continue to use BBM. The unreleased Android app will be disabled, and customers who downloaded it should visit to register for updates on official BBM for Android availability.

As soon as we are able, we will begin a staggered country roll-out of BBM for Android and continue the roll-out of BBM for iPhone. Please follow @BBM on Twitter for the latest updates and go to to sign-up for updates about BBM for Android and iPhone. These issues have not impacted BBM service for BlackBerry.

Rene Ritchie is critical of this as it does not appear that Blackberry have understood the potential market for the messenger app. This perhaps reflects their whole approach as when the iPhone arrived in 2007, along with other entrenched device makers, they acted as if their position was unassailable. With several rounds of job losses, a shrinking market share and businesses moving their staff in droves to other smartphones (for example AP who issued the iPhone 5 to some staff to replace BlackBerry phones), they acted far too late. Note that in the press release (above) it is clearly stated that "only when it's ready": so why was it released to the App Store in the first place?

Part of that second-class act is the look and feel of the app itself. While something like 30% of iPhone users have moved to iOS 7 in the last few days, according to an earlier article by Rene Ritchie, giving a first look at the app (with a video), it had all the look and feel of iOS 6, while not being optimised for the iPad. A lot of other apps have to be updated, but one might expect that a significant release from the former last word on messaging, might have joined all the dots. That article was updated to show that the app had been withdrawn.

Needless to say, I did try the links, both in the Facebook entries and the article in iMore. In both cases, when I was redirected to the local iTunes App Store, a panel appeared telling me that this app was not available (nothing new there) and offering to link to the New Zealand Store. When I did that, I was informed that the app was no longer available.

We have been waiting for more than 5 years, so I guess a few more days/weeks/months may not matter.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



Made on Mac

For further information, e-mail to

information Tag information Tag

Back to eXtensions
Back to Home Page