The utter failure that was the BBM cross platform launch

Bradley Wint
By: - 23rd Sep 2013
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If you were excited like me to try out BBM on your Android or iPhone, then take that excitement and place it in a bag, beat the crap out of it and throw it into the dumpster. At least that’s how my excitement felt after seeing the utter failure of BBM’s launch this weekend gone.

But should I have been surprised?

If you’ve missed it, BlackBerry (formerly RIM) decided to open up its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service to the Android and iPhone markets some months ago, and a date was finally set for September 21st for Android users and the 22nd for iPhone users. I expected that there would be some hiccups like any other mass product or service launch, but still woke up Saturday morning at 7AM for the Android launch.

7AM passed, 8AM passed, 9AM was approaching and I hadn’t seen anything so I decided to go back to sleep. I decided to check their Twitter account and saw this:

and then this

Something was definitely wrong with the Android equivalent because we had been waiting for quite some time while iOS users were getting the official app via the iTunes stores over in New Zealand and other parts of Asia.

iOS updates had spread as far as the United Arab Emirates without any official word about what was happening on Android’s end. Meanwhile, a close to finished, leaked copy of the Android APK managed to get out into the wild. This APK actually worked! I was able to sign up for an account, add a  few friends and chat with them. The leaked APK spread so quickly that over 1.1 million users were able to create an account via the app.

I had fun with it but then noticed some time late in the evening that messages were not being sent, only to realize that BlackBerry has officially put the brakes on the entire process.

In a blogpost, they stated that the leaked Android APK caused quite a bit of problems on their end, forcing them to bring the #BBM4ALL launch to a premature halt. They posted this follow up tweet on the 22nd.

It’s now Monday morning and there hasn’t been any update about the situation. Right now we aren’t sure if the problem stemmed from the leaked Android APK that appeared some days before the launch via the XDA Developers forums or if they realized on the last minute that the final version was broken to hell.

This comes as another huge PR nightmare for the already failing company, coming shortly after they announced that they would be trimming 4,500 staff members in efforts to ditch the consumer business and head back to their roots.

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