Kik pleads with RIM to keep on trucking

By Adam Zeis on 23 Nov 2010 03:52 pm EST

Kik messenger

Today Kik posted a blog explaining just what's going on with their Kik Messenger BlackBerry app. If you remember last week, their app was pulled from BlackBerry App World without explaination, and since then has been nowhere to be found. Delays of up to one hour have been occuring for Kik users, and the whole mess has been kind of up in the air.

The blog post today straight from Kik is basically an open letter for users asking RIM not to keep the app off BlackBerry. There is really no good explaination from RIM, but it's a safe bet the BBM likeness of the app isn't one of their favorites -- kind of goes against Kiks tagline of "play nice" huh? From Kik's blog:

We have worked day and night to build a super-fast, reliable and free cross-platform instant messaging app. This includes more than a year of development for BlackBerry smartphones. We have worked cooperatively with RIM at every step. We think it's fair to say that, until very recently, our relationship has been nothing less than friendly.

RIM placed Kik on BlackBerry App World without issue. Kik's upcoming mobile music service received a special award at BlackBerry DevCon about a year ago, and was named by RIM just six weeks ago as one of the first five featured apps to be included in its upcoming BBM platform.

We'll see what details we can gather on all of this and where things are heading. For now you unfortunately can't download Kik for BlackBerry (and without Push who would want to) but other platforms are still up and running. Keep reading for the full Kik post.

Do Not Pull Kik From BlackBerry - An Open Letter to Kik Users 

Early Friday morning, I awoke to a deeply dismaying and wholly unexpected message from BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM). It boils down to this: RIM is kicking BlackBerry users off Kik.

Kik had already been excluded from BlackBerry App World, so no new Kik downloads have been possible for BlackBerry users. But now RIM has shut down "push" access; as a result, messages to BlackBerry users will be delayed by up to an hour. RIM has also now removed access to the BlackBerry Software Development Kit and Signing Keys, so any future development is frozen.

On behalf of our nearly one million Kik users on Blackberry devices, we truly hope RIM reverses these steps.

If you're an iPhone or Android user, you are not affected (except for Kik message delays to and from friends using BlackBerrys). If you're not yet on Kik, you can continue to download Kik on Apple's App Store and the Android Market.

As you likely know, Kik went massively viral after our Oct. 19 re-launch - on all three smartphone platforms. Two weeks in, we had 1 million users. Now we have 2.5 million users, and we're still growing (even without new BlackBerry downloads).

However, for BlackBerry users and our little company, RIM's actions are a huge blow.

We have worked day and night to build a super-fast, reliable and free cross-platform instant messaging app. This includes more than a year of development for BlackBerry smartphones. We have worked cooperatively with RIM at every step. We think it's fair to say that, until very recently, our relationship has been nothing less than friendly.

RIM placed Kik on BlackBerry App World without issue. Kik's upcoming mobile music service received a special award at BlackBerry DevCon about a year ago, and was named by RIM just six weeks ago as one of the first five featured apps to be included in its upcoming BBM platform.

We are very grateful for RIM's past assistance and support. We're honoured that they welcomed us with open arms. And we have responded fully to any concerns they have raised. We know battery life and privacy could not be concerns, because we have completed an update that sips battery power and provides additional privacy controls, and have offered it to RIM.

Knowing this, we are confident there is no reason service should be denied to Kik users.

On behalf of our 2.5 million users, we implore RIM to maintain and fully restore Kik service on BlackBerry.

Kik is a small start-up with a big idea - just as RIM once was. We are thrilled by the popularity of our instant messaging app.

Some people have suggested that we're "too similar" to RIM's instant messaging product, and that somehow this is behind their decision. We would be surprised and disappointed if there is any truth to this, as RIM has always championed the BlackBerry ecosystem as an open platform. However, if true, the implications would go well beyond Kik to the entire mobile community, users and developers alike.

We urge RIM to embrace the spirit of a fair and open mobile platform that will enrich their users with more great new apps. Everyone - BlackBerry users, Kik users, our businesses and the wider smartphone community - will win.

Surely the one thing we can agree on is that the user should come first. On behalf of almost 1 million BlackBerry users who have already downloaded and use Kik, let's work together and put this behind us.

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Kik pleads with RIM to keep on trucking


Well this sucks...after using/purchasing several different apps to communicate with my iphone friends, I thought Kik was finally the go - and it was free! Come on RIM, this isn't cool. Green does not look good on you.

Pretty strange if you ask me. I can't think of any other reason besides the obvious similarities to BBM for this. I was actually looking forward to downloading Kik myself, since I have a lot of friends that own other non-BB devices. Could it be they don't want a "free" look alike software to be available to Droid/Apple folks and therefore condem kik?

I really hope that this isn't true, or that it was a bad employee who didn't like KIK and banned and revoked, because I don't think I could stand it if BlackBerry actually pulled an app and revoked licenses because it's too similar to BBM, if it were because of some sort of a bug that would ruin the security of the phone, they should have mentioned it by now, as that's pretty much the only explanation I can think of as to why they would do this short of competition, which I hope it isn't...

RIM you have finally stooped to a level that is equivalent to Steve Jobs BS. Apocalyptic Failure on you're part RIM.

How so?

Whatsapp and Pingchat do the exact same thing bbmsgr does and there have been no complaints by RIM about those.

Heck even Yahoo messenger, aim and hotmail messengers are also instant messaging apps that run off data connection too.

What do you expect when RIM cross a viral marketing company? ;) I'm just gonna wait to hear the rest of the story, personally...

Talk about betrayal? I've stuck with the developers of Kik since the very beginning of Unsynced. When Kik was released I was assured that it would be available in the UK within months. I was wrong to have even believed it.

BBM is only good if all of the people you communicate with use a Blackberry. Most of my friends are Android and iPhone users. Communicating over txt is clunky and Kik filled that void.

Apparently RIM doesn't get it. Most in my surroundings have left their BB's behind for glossier machines, but I've kept my 9700.. KIK got me back in the loop for a while, but now I'm the oddball again. Guess it's time to jump ship.

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic or not (it's impossible to tell with the rampant stupidity you find online) but I don't think he's being trivial at all. BlackBerry's are communication devices, and not only within a business environment. If you reduce the ability of a BB to be a communication device (especially with your friends and family), then its worth is diminished. Believe it or not, email is not the end-all purpose for everyone when it comes to their smart phones. These days people want integrative features that are more than just utilitarian, which is where RIM falls short in almost every respect. Communicative ease is all it has, and with the loss of Kik, the BB world just got a hell of a lot smaller. With instant messaging, texting is becoming an old hat form of communication. I've been loyal to BB's for a long time but I think they just don't serve their purpose as well anymore.

No wonder BlackBerry app development is almost nonexistent. I'd expect this from Apple, not from RIM. RIM is blowing it big time. Why would anybody want to waste time and money developing apps for BlackBerry now if this is how they treat developers.

your point is that no one develops for BB because they are not open enough but the far more draconian implementation of developer relations practiced by Apple is a runaway success at bringing on developers? Yet you criticize RIM for barring an app.

Based on this logic, shouldn't you be arguing that RIM needs to treat developers worse not better.

I've been tossing around the idea of upgrading my Blackberry in January with whatever is the latest and greatest. This was the nail in the coffin though... I will not be purchasing another device from RIM. Not only is the development platform absolutely garbage, but they treat their developers and partners like absolute crap.

Sorry to say it, but it's only a matter of time before we see RIM go the way of Palm.

"Sorry to say it, but it's only a matter of time before we see RIM go the way of Palm."

I have to agree. Blackberry used to be the Sh@#*. The ONLY smartphone that was real. Now its getting... Well... Boring and without an app market that competes with Android and Apple and a decent touchscreen, more and more people are going to jump ship. I know its something I will need to think hard about when my contract is up...

I think it's a bit insane to say "oh I'm jumping off BlackBerry because I can't use a 3rd party app" Kik wasn't that great anyway in the time that I used it, and I'm very curious to see RIM's response to this, I'm lead to believe that there is something more beyond Kik just being removed for no reason.

This doesn't effect my views on RIM, nor does it effect my decision to buy a 9780 in December.

Those who say RIM will go the way of Palm are a bit out of their mind, Palm lacked any communication or commitment with their developers or even users for far too long, failed to innovate or even slightly push the envelope beyond the same Treo model year after year for far too long.

I guess you wouldn't agree, but I think RIM has failed to innovate or even slightly push the envelope beyond the same Bold model year after year for far too long too. What have they done since the release of the Bold 9000 in 2008? On the other hand, I see forward movement from all the other device makers, which, ironically, includes Palm. RIM may not die, but without something to capture the imagination of the larger public soon, I think they'll be relegated to the category of "second-tier product," much like Nokia in the U.S. At best, they'll be a good business machine but not much more. I do have high hopes for QNX though. The public is fickle. If RIM releases a good product, even those who have left will be back. The problem is, they keep releasing flagship devices that are behind the curve.

No response? Did you use the app that much? Sure it was a great app, but....

If your IT pushes Content protection, it would prevent you phone from booting.

I agree, I left blackberry and won't ever come back. you have to be a blind sheep to be following and listening to RIM's bs all the time. RIM says something is coming out in 6mons tack on 18mons to that.

exactly. im so glad i left rim for androids, i thought blackberry's were the best and i do tech support for rim, i use to stick up for blackberry's but now after having my droid for two months i havent looked back. the apps are a million times better and way more, no hassle to get apps unlike the new version of appworld. rim is going to go down i hate to say it. i deal with phones everyday and i would bet anything rim is going to be dropping way down

I thought KiK was removed from the App world because KiK was collecting user data without the user's known about it. So RIM wanted to figure out what was going on with the App?

Maybe something to do with the fact that when you installed Kik on your BB, it would scan your address book and send a message to your contacts about you using Kik??? Let's wait and see if RIM give their version.

This is moronic. I'm not a fan of Kik, and I encourage people to check out either PingChat or Cnectd, which all have their little quirks, but are all workable variations of cross-platform messengers that use data instead of texts, and include "push" messaging (which is necessary to be a true BBM emulator).

But using KiK or any other messenger does not stop people from buying Blackberries. It actually makes me more comfortable being with Blackberry because I can talk to iPhone and Droid users as if they were on BBM and still enjoy the speed and convenience of a RIM device. I could see how service carriers would be upset that people aren't blindly forking over for 1400 texts/month plans, as so many iPhone users currently do, but the use of BBM and these 3rd party cross-platform apps only adds functionality to Blackberry as a brand.

RIM's thinking is if you're comfortable not using BBM anymore what's to stop you from jumping ship. other than the keyboard and BBM what else does RIM really have.

Personally I stil don't see what Kik brings to the table that other IM clients (gtalk, live, etc) don't, other than a huge amount of self-puffery that became a "viral" success. However, but I don't think similarity to BBM is the issue at all - I think it's the functionality and the way that it's being advertised.

BBM is one of the most heavily marketed features of BB - and the more people who use it, the more compelling a case there is for their friends to buy BB. Now here comes this new service who specifically tells its users - hey you can talk to ANYONE on Kik - BlackBerry, Android, iPhone it doesn't matter. That's a blow directly at RIM's target audience.

At the very least, RIM should have shown more delicacy when targeting a company that's proven they can make virtual firestorm out of a messaging app that (until recently) provided less functionality than its cross-platform competitors. You'd think they'd pause and think, "Hey, these guys are really good at spreading word of mouth, probably we don't want to give them reason to start talking down our platform". (Kik's restraint in this issue has been admirable. )

Alternatively, there's an infrastructure problem - but I have trouble believing that RIM infrastructure can't handle this load...

PS - the new look is OK, but the comments are *huge* compared to everything else - kind of annoying. Also, Disqus integration would be nice...

For me, the appeal of Kik was simply the fact that everyone else was on it. The fact that it was so similar to BBM was just a very pleasant surprise. Sure there might be other alternatives out there, but the fact that 2.5 million users aren't on them makes them infinitely less attractive. I personally hate texting because it's cumbersome. Wait times feel long compared to IM, so I was very happy to be able to have a BBM-like experience with my friends and family who are mostly on iPhones or Android devices now. Suddenly without Kik, I feel disconnected from them again. For me, it's enough to make me want to abandon the RIM ship I've been clinging to for so long, and I think many people are feeling the same way. It's sad because RIM services are truly excellent but they seem to think that's enough.

and this is why no one wants to develop for the BB/RIM... good way to scare off other developers RIM.

Very upsetting, RIM. I am an Android user and some of my friends are on Blackberrys. Kik was great for chatting with them. RIM is shooting themselves in the foot, PR-wise.

I dont get it, if RIM has a problem with kik. What about the rest?
I use pingchat on my iphone now to communicate to friends who are still on bb. I hope they don't pull that too!

Off topic: like the new look site Crackberry.

Honestly if you left bb or hate bb why do u constantly check a site dedicated to bb lovers? Makes you seem pathetic to troll and whine,on something u don't even have or like. Btw kik sucks bbm all day, besides there's other measaging apps on there download those RIM removed one not all jeeze. bb

I really do think this comes down to how Kik was accessing and using the contacts in the address book - much more of a concern than it being another IM app.

I would say it was a minor concern when it was being used by BIS uesrs. It may have really sparked a larger flame if it shared BES contacts from the corporate world.

I don't understand the hype or how all these new IM services think they can be anything more than a fad. There are several age old IM services that started as computer apps, are solid, and they all have mobile options. Anything else should just be a text. Personally if the IM service doesn't have a computer app I have no use for it...this includes BBM!

With the new commenting system and much bigger font the add comment box seems waaay down the page...maybe think about moving it up to the top?

RIM wrong choice: if you want to EXPAND into the market you've got to more open. You guys disgust me, I'd drop my bold for the iphone unless you stop this absurdity


we want Kik back to blackberry it was the best app before BBM
come on RIM you are looking for the better

1. Re following and stating that you moved away from BlackBerry to another device: Seems like a waste of time. However, perhaps you wish to keep updated on current BlackBerry news so you remind yourself why you left or to defend that decision when you find yourself in debate?

2. I don't use my BlackBerry to sit around and chat with other humans on a little electronic device. If I need to send a quick note to someone using a non-BlackBerry device, I send a text. It seems to work quite well. I use my BlackBerry to make phone calls, look stuff up on the Internet, and receive email. I find having a BlackBerry keeps me off the computer as the experience of using a BlackBerry is bearable to read (and reply to a short) email or look up something via the browser, yet annoying enough that I don't want to be constantly typing on it. So, for me, it's not all about BlackBerry Messenger or any other IM chat app.

P.S. Call your friends.

I'm with rob on this. I've had a blackberry for eons and to be honest, I never really have used the bbm. Text or my messengers usually do the trick. Not saying whatever convenience kik provided should be diminished simply saying, this isn't the straw that breaks the camel's back. I could care less about this app.

With regards to how it went viral...

Well let's just say they spammed every one of your contacts to begin using the application. Personally, I take my privacy seriously and some startup company isn't going to be privy to my address book so they can market themselves. No thank you.

As for apps? And how they're alienating developers, RIM was right with their last comment, you don't need an app for the web. If there is perfect functionality to your phone, why do you need an app on your phone? To make it fart? To write holiday cards?

I'm sticking with RIM. Once they come out with the new platform for their phones next year to match the playbook, all the apps in the world can be downloaded across platforms. (Android/iphone/bb)

Its pretty naive of so many people assuming that Kik was pulled simply because it competed with BBM. Its also pretty dishonest of Kik to imply that they have done everything possible and do not know why RIM pulled the app. Also, not to mention that there are a huge number of cross-platform IM applications already available that work great and those haven't been banned. There was *nothing* special about Kik.

After downloading the app on my Torch shortly before it was pulled, it became very obvious that it was a horribly written application. I dont know how many times i had my phone lock up, have the battery killed in an hour, or even have the phone reboot just from using this app. I uninstalled it after a day. Every single other person i know who tried it out had the same experience.

That aside, I'm fairly certain that RIM pulled the app because of the way it mines your contact info. That is a HUGE breach of privacy. Sure it creates a "magical" user experience for setting up your Kik friends, but its also downright scary. Put that in a corporate environment and you're in a boatload of trouble. This isnt a surprise at all, and its a shame that Kik has resorted to a public plea in such a misleading fashion.

I dont see what is so special about KIK. If it's an instant messaging application--then why not use G, AIM, MSN, ICQ or Yahoo messenger? After all, arent all those free and also connect non-bbm users through a live chat?

I personally have not considered using KIK.