[Opinion] BBM for Android is delayed, but who cares?

September 23, 2013
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BBM

Fall is here, but BBM isn’t.

Blackberry couldn’t live up to their promise of delivering BBM before the end of summer, but they came really close. They gave a glimpse, but didn’t feel right about releasing a product that wasn’t going to be a great experience. They had it all ready to go, but couldn’t handle the demand.

Are we done making excuses for Blackberry, yet?

According to Blackberry, the issue was with a leaked BBM for Android APK. They note that — in a mere eight hours — their servers had 1.1 million unique Android users, causing issues for them. As a result, they’re pausing the rollout for BBM, retracting the Android APK (rendering it useless), and leaving those iOS users who already have the app to their vices.

When does it become too comical for us to care? On September 21st, 2013.

While all that is woeful, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. At all. RIM had their Blackberry 10 devices in the pipeline for over two years. For a time, nobody knew who even lead RIM Blackberry. The past three years, Blackberry has been a company in chaos, and it shows.

In 2013, Blackberry tells us they won’t release BBM until they’re confident it is “ready”. In 2011, RIM told us they wouldn’t release their Blackberry 10 devices until they knew they were “ready”. We wait, we anticipate, we are let down — and hanging around.

But really, can we just be done giving Blackberry the benefit of the doubt? They’re like the guy who just wants to finish the race, but is so far behind the winners have already received their medals and gone home. How long are we going to stick around to cheer them on? When does it become too comical for us to care?

On September 21st, 2013.

The narrative on Saturday could have easily been about Blackberry finally jumping the shark and less a handshake explanation of their continuous breakdown. They’ve got one thing to sell now, and they just can’t bring it to market. Blackberry didn’t restrict the devices it would be available on, or manage BBM with some sort of Falcon Pro/Twitter style token system — they just took it away, seemingly upset we played with it when they weren’t looking.

The narrative on Saturday could have easily been about Blackberry finally jumping the shark and less a handshake explanation of their continued failure.

In 2011, RIMs delay of their Blackberry 10 was a foreshadowing to what we see now — a company that provocatively fails us. That detainment was on the heels of the Blackberry Playbook, which was met with miserable reviews. Immediately before that launch, their CMO left the company. Almost immediately after, RIM started cutting their workforce. By fall of that year, random Blackberry outages would cause headaches across the globe, and a chain of events was set in motion.

When those Blackberry 10 phones were originally delayed, RIM routinely implored us to give them more time. We did, but the devices were perpetually three months away. In three months, consumers leave for greener pastures. In three months, developers stop caring about excuses, and want to monetize. Compound RIM’s issues against a surging iOS and Android backdrop, and we find ourselves with a company that can’t handle BBM under heavy strain.

Every time Blackberry falls down, we want them to come up swinging. They won’t, though. They’ve proven themselves a true failure, time and again. The Blackberry 10 delay shouldn’t have taken longer than 6 months, but it took two years for us to finally see it and give it a shrug. BBM was also promised to us by the end of summer, and has now been delayed. Until it’s “ready”, which is secret RIM code for “far too late”.

I know that rebranding RIM as Blackberry was supposed to make us forget the past, and it did. Until Saturday. This weekend, we were reminded that — like RIM — Blackberry just can’t. I’m not sure it even matters what you put after “can’t” any more, either. From hardware to a simple messaging service, they just can’t.

You know what? Neither can I. When it comes to Blackberry, I just can’t anymore.

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