BlackBerry had to postpone the launch of Android and iOS versions of its proprietary instant messaging system, BlackBerry Messenger, over the weekend in the latest of a series of unfortunate events. The launch scheduled for this weekend was supposed to be a hail mary for the once-ubiquitous smartphone maker. Long-held as one of the few reasons to stick with Research In Motion's phones, the launch of cross-platform BBM apps was thought to be a way to stave off a shrinking user base.
The news of BBM's delay comes in addition to RIM's buried, Friday afternoon announcement that it would be cutting more than 4,500 jobs and suffering nearly a billion dollars in losses. Reports swirled on Saturday that co-founder Mike Lazaridis might try to purchase the company and take it private. He had formerly stepped down as co-CEO in 2012 but remains one of RIM's largest individual shareholders.
On the company's official blog, the delay was attributed to a leaked Android version of the app, which had seen more than a million downloads and was causing problems for the company.
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.
In some regions, the iOS version had already been released and, according to the company, should continue to function normally. The software was originally supposed to see release at some point during the summer.