BlackBerry was forced to suspend the rollout of its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to iPhone and Android platforms over the weekend, after an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app was posted online.
According to a BlackBerry blog post, the unreleased app “caused issues”, that the company has been trying to resolve. The Android app has now been disabled, but customers who downloaded the BBM for iPhone app will be able to continue to use BBM.
“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,” BlackBerry’s Luke Reimer said.
“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.”
Although BlackBerry did not elaborate any further on the cause of these “issues”, security expert Graham Cluley suggests that BlackBerry may not have been able to cope with the spike of activity hitting its servers.
“What seems, in part, to have tripped up BlackBerry is the poorly-policed free-and-easy Google Play Android app store, where multiple BBM apps, posing as official releases, appeared,” he said.
Reimer noted that more than 1.1 million active users downloaded the BBM for Android app – albeit the unofficial version – in the first 8 hours after launch, indicating that demand for the instant messaging service on other mobile platforms is high.
However, the decision to pull the app is likely to knock consumer confidence in the platform, with users not knowing how long the service will be available for.
The news follows BlackBerry’s announcement last week it will be laying off 40 percent of its global workforce – around 4,500 positions, and reporting losses of nearly $1 billion in the three months to August.