The move comes at a time when BlackBerry is struggling in a tough market dominated by the likes of Samsung and Apple.

BlackBerry has put on hold its plans to open up its instant messaging platform to rival Android phone brands after an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app was leaked online.

“Consequently, this unreleased version caused issues, which we have attempted to address throughout the day,” BlackBerry said in a blog.

“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. We are pausing the global rollout of BBM for Android and iPhone,” the Canadian phone maker said.

Staggered rollout

BlackBerry will now begin a staggered country rollout of BBM instead of a simultaneous global launch, as was announced earlier. “These issues have not impacted BBM service for BlackBerry,” the company said.

The rollback has come at a time when BlackBerry is struggling to stay relevant in a highly competitive market dominated by the likes of Samsung and Apple. While BlackBerry phones, based on its new operating system BB10, have received lukewarm response from consumers, the decision to open up BBM to platforms other than BlackBerry had created some excitement.

The move had pit BlackBerry against players such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Nimbuzz globally.

“By opening up BBM to other platforms, we are doing two things. One, we want to expand the engagement levels of existing 60 million BBM users with other phone brands and, second, we are hoping to bring back some of those users who were once on BlackBerry but shifted to other platforms because BBM was restricted only to BlackBerry phones,” Sunil Lalvani, Managing Director, BlackBerry India, had earlier told Business Line.

Some of the Indian phone brands, including Micromax, had already announced plans to preload their devices with the BBM application and had also started advertising it. But the pause in rollout could further dampen the game for BlackBerry.

(This article was published on September 22, 2013)
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