IN WHAT WILL GO DOWN as a horrible weekend for Blackberry, the launch of Blackberry Messenger (BBM) as a cross-platform app went awry and Blackberry had to quickly withdraw it.
Due for release at Saturday lunchtime, the Android version of the app was mysteriously absent as angry users took to Twitter to complain about how they weren't able to get in touch with people they hadn't spoken to since they switched mobile platforms.
One user commented, "Dear @BBM, you are acting like some cheap startup. In fact, start ups have things organised much better." While some speculated that the delay itself was a marketing ploy, it didn't go down well with impatient punters. One said, "@BBM If it is a marketing strategy then I hope that marketing person is [one] of the 4500 that will be laid off."
After several hours Blackberry finally responded, saying, "Thanks for your patience #Android users! Working hard to get you the real #BBM ASAP. We'll let you know when it's live. #BBM4ALL". But after a more several hours, it became apparent that something had gone wrong somewhere.
On announcing that the global rollout had been suspended for both iPhone and Android, Blackberry explained that a leaked version of the app that had been circulating in the past week had somehow caused the finished version to stop working and that the rollout would recommence once the kinks had been ironed out.
To add insult to injury, The INQUIRER counted more than a dozen fake BBM apps in the Google Play Store on Saturday afternoon - ranging from fake user guides to versions of the leaked app with a few 'modifications' as chancers took advantage of the hype to do a spot of data harvesting.
Though Blackberry was understood to be taking steps to have these removed, a quick scan for "BBM" this morning suggested the problem is getting worse. It has promised to keep interest parties updated on when the rollout will recommence, but so far there is no indication of the timeframe.
This really needed to go right for Blackberry. Though it would have been nearly impossible to completely deflect attention from the looming job losses and financial disaster the company faces, the botched rollout of what is to all intents and purposes its flagship product has only served to emphasise what dark days these are for the business.
Blackberry has since confirmed that BBM for iOS and Android is unlikely to be re-released this week. A spokesperson said, "The team is now focused on adjusting the system to completely block this unreleased version of the Android app when we go live with the official BBM for Android app.
"We are also making sure that the system is reinforced to handle this kind of scenario in the future. While this may sound like a simple task – it's not. This will take some time and I do not anticipate launching this week." µ
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