The reports of RIM bleeding developers have been greatly exaggerated

Alec Saunders
By Bla1ze on 13 Jul 2012 12:37 pm EDT

Earlier, Chris wrote about how the Baird Equity Research survey went wrong and now, Alec Saunders, VP Developer Relations, Research In Motion has taken to the BlackBerry Developer Blog to address the report as well. In the very direct post from Alec, he states he was shocked to hear the information in the report because they really don't reflect that of reality. As man who is traveling the world, attending as many BlackBerry events as possible, he should know the real perception of developers. As noted within the post:

In the past year our BlackBerry App World ™ vendor base has grown 157 percent. We have developers submitting amazing apps for BlackBerry® PlayBook™ users. In fact, the BlackBerry PlayBook app catalog has grown by more than 15,000 apps since January 1 of this year. We just announced that more than three billion applications have been downloaded from BlackBerry App World since launch.

But much more importantly, the BlackBerry 10 Jam World Tour we are currently hosting in 23 cities across the globe has seen over capacity registration in almost every city, including New York, Santa Clara, Toronto, Jakarta, Singapore, Delhi, and Montreal. We have already spoken to almost 5,000 developers and the feedback has been phenomenal (don’t take my word for it, search Twitter for the hashtag #bb10jam).

I have been receiving a lot of feedback from developers personally and I can tell you that I am hearing again and again that developers are amazed by how easy it is to work with the BlackBerry 10 tools. They appreciate the open nature of our platform, which allows developers to bring their work and their skills and find a toolset that will work for them. The other thing I hear consistently is that RIM simply treats developers better than anyone else in the mobile industry. That is music to my ears!I want to once again thank our developer community. You see what we are doing to increase our support for you. You see what RIM is building with Blackberry 10 and the amazing opportunity to be part of our new platform and you have shared your enthusiasm and excitement with us.

We all know it's Alec's job to defend the BlackBerry platform and its current efforts but on a personal level, I've heard it time and time again as well. Developers are excited for what BlackBerry 10 will potentially bring to the table. In addition to that, most developers will tell you now that RIM now FINALLY, after all these years, gets what developers want and need from them in order to produce the types of apps every smartphone ecosystem needs.

Sure, there is a lot of developers out there who will speak of past issues with RIM development tools but things have changed and they will continue to change as RIM is dedicated to making progress in this area. If for whatever reason you still think otherwise, attend a BlackBerry Jam, attend one of the many hack-a-thons, reach out to the developers that are actively using the tools and creating apps, read the success stories. You'll find the reports of RIM bleeding developers have been greatly exaggerated.

Source: BlackBerry Dev Blog

Reader comments

The reports of RIM bleeding developers have been greatly exaggerated


Thank you for telling the truth.

There are far too many misleading articles.

It's high time that RIM begins to sue for media misrepresentation slander.

Developers can develope for a platform and still have doubts about its future and profitability.

That said, it is obvious to me that BB is doing the right things here and BB10 will be amazing. Devs will be rewarded for their efforts.

Agree. If just the current BB owners upgrade to BB10 over time, that is still a very large group of app buyers. If you add people who own iPhones or Androids and might be interested in coming back to BB, you start getting a sizeable consumer group.

I thought the rumors were that developers were leaving RIM, the place making the BB10 software. ISn't that the open questin here?

The media has an agenda.

Their MO is to bring down this company and will stop at nothing until they succeed.

These reports will countinue to mount until BB10 goes to market and probably for sometime after until future quarterly reports show just how much cash RIM is printing.

The bottom line is that RIM finally figured out that developers were a critical part of their success. That is why they purchased TAT and why TAT did not just make a handful of apps but instead built some awesome tools for developers so they could ALL use them.

As for the report. AllThingsDigital and a few other turkeys will always look for anything to attack RIM and if they can't find it the WILL make it up. This article is a case in point.

As for the delay on BB10, frankly I think it was the right call. Having the device out two months later in exchange for an awesome and sophisticated user experience is well worth it.

BlackBerry all the way!

This is going to sound more negative than I mean it to be, but I will believe the tide has turned with developers when I start to see the new things, apps, etc show works on BB Playbook or works on BB along with iOS and Android. I still don't see it, or see it 6 months after the other 2 are offered. I do believe that day is coming and that RIM are saving some major announcements for closer to the release of BB10, at least I remain hopeful it's the case.

I have seen some cute games etc but I don't usually play games except a card game here or there. I can honestly say I scour app world constantly for PlayBook and it's rare I see things there I want to add even still. I know there have been a good amount of apps added to the PB since RIM have been giving incentives, but most of those apps have no appeal to me.

I still have the echos of a very well connected Robert Scoble who said the major dev houses are not moving to BB even for BB10 and that concerns me.

the question is what do you want to see in there.

i'm the same in the fact that when i go through appworld on my PB aside from the games i don't see much i want to download, but the same can be said for my itouch and my epic The only real thing that they have over my PB is skype. I don't use it as often anymore, but its nice to have. on a whole i see BB10 as a great alternative to other platforms if it comes out they way RIM is toting it will. beyond that the way i see it have a large app database is great but for a lot of us its all about what we are gonna use as long as a few core apps are there for me i'm game.

The Playbook has been out for well over a year, and while I like it (and also have a Torch 9850), it's ridiculous that even the most basic apps (all of which are available on OS7) are NOT available on QNX. eBay, Fandango, Mapquest, WhatsApp, etc...Basic apps! Not to mention Netflix, Skype, HBO Go, etc. It's a HORRIBLE app store. The Playbook is great, but RIM hasn't been able to develop any kind of meaningful app store for it in well over a year. Makes me a little worried for BB10, because apps will be a huge factor in its success with consumers.

Hahaha, if anything shows the strength of RIM and its supporters, its the fact that this supposed analyst and his faux survey just got squashed like an annoying little bug from every direction. M'f'n gangters up in here ;)

According to the chart provided, Developers lost faith in the long term prospects over three straight periods for every platform except iOS. In that case, sentiment went down and then back to roughly where it was during the first period. The chart and accompanying articles by the usual RIMM bashing suspects makes one ask why the same isn't being said about Windows 8 or Android.

I couldn't find any details on the sample size, composition, etc. of the report that would rebut my presumption that it, like other bits of anti-RIMM news, is complete garbage.

Notice that the companies piling on RIMM are hedge funds or trading desks of investment banks. iBGR and AllThingsA are merely the mouthpiece. Notice that the companies that made comments that are forced by SEC regs to disclose positions, like Citi, stated they were in effect shorting RIMM stock. One should scrutinize "analyst reports" as closely as a political poll issued by a super PAC or political party.

BB10 is going to ignite a fire in RIMM and the phones will do well if they perform as advertised. Android, as currently distributed, has serious flaws. Fragmentation and skinning are serious issues. There is no uniform Android "experience" and quality and UI varies greatly from phone to phone. Android grew because of RIMM's inability to field a competitive touch screen phone and the carriers needed an alternative product to sell other than the iPhone. Besides Samsung, if Android is so great, why are the Android OEM's struggling? HTC is losing serious money. Moto, LG and other Android OEMs aren't even blips on the radar.

In terms of volume and clout, its really down to Apple and Samsung, and Samsung's numbers are grossly inflated because no one breaks out the huge number of feature/dumb phones Sammy sells. iOS will be the one to beat for a while, but there is plenty of space for a viable 3rd option, especially one with the potential that BB10 has shown.

Keep Calm and Crackberry On...

"I couldn't find any details on the sample size, composition, etc. of the report"

They surveyed 200 developers.

200 out of hundreds of thousands. The margin for error is off the scale.

The survey is worthless except to generate negativity. Which was probably its purpose.

i want to have sex with your words.

t does seen like investment firms want to drive RIMM shares to the ground and kill the company. my assumption is they just want to say i told you so, but RIM is battling hard and in some cases it seems liek they are winning and other times it takes a nice upper cut to the jaw.

the real KO blow will be when BB10 is released i still think even if BB10 doesn't win the market over RIMM won't die. their assets are to high and they own to much, they will just be a smaller competitor in the market and have to downsize

Though I don't disagree, just curious what supports your comment:

"Notice that the companies piling on RIMM are hedge funds or trading desks of investment banks."

Also, here's some fun number crunching to think about this weekend:

Yesterday Nielsen released updated mobile market shares both in terms of hardware and OS (I suggest you track it down if you haven't seen it yet).

Assuming RIM moves forward with a BB10 licensing strategy there are big implications to the "beleagured" BlackBerry maker.

Basically, after running some back of the envelope numbers, if RIM can license BB10 to just 25% of hardware makers (notably Samsung, HTC, Motorola) then Android, iOS, and BB10 will essentially have an equal hold on the OS market at 33% each. The scraps of course going to Windows Mobile and Symbian.

I think if you look at things a year ago, the report was more true. Several developers who were big on supporting BB stopped development, and there seemed to be no hope of apps like Skype coming to the Playbook or non-Vzw BB's.

What I have seen (from personally attending BB10Jam in Orlando) is that many developers are interested in BB10. Between Cascades and Webworks, there are some really good tools out there now. The downside is that the new tools don't work with the current Playbook OS. But having a Dev Alpha device to test with does help. It is very true that the developers at the BB10Jam sessions are excited.

I think the media and sales swing will come from larger-name developers providing apps for BB10. When we see Skype, Netflix, Kindle, and similar apps come out, there will be much better sales. If social sites jump on the bandwagon (Twitter, FB, Pinterest...) Then that will help out as well. It wouldn't hurt to have a couple of exclusives to sweeten the pot. But the big thing will be popular app support. There can be thousands of small development houses supporting BB10 (like mine), but they won't have as much pull with the media and sales as big name support.

Why are you giving this survey more press?

Anyone with half a brain, looking a the results, knows MS got exactly what they wanted and paid for.

Good discussion, peeps.
I am not a big proponent of conspiracy theories, but the absolute fantasy and lies that come out about can almost make you wonder...

"The BlackBerry PlayBook app catalog has grown by more than 15,000 apps since January 1 of this year" - yes, Alec, I'm sure it has, but very few of the key developers are producing apps or keeping their existing apps up to date. There is still no Kindle app, there are hardly any front line newspapers or magazines, very few banks and not a single serious personal finance app. The PlayBook section of App World looks like the kind of dollar store you find camped out in derelict streets in city centres after the real stores have moved out to the mall.

BB10 absolutely requires the presence at launch of the marquee apps that everyone wants on their smartphone. If Alec really believes that PlayBook apps are illustrative of the success of RIM's relationships with the developers then he should think again and fast.

RIM has no choice and come out with damage control again. I find it hard to believe that there are hoards of developers knocking down doors and stepping over each other for a platform that very well might not even see the light of day.

You make that remark even after being shown that all the BB10 Jam sessions have been sold out and more dates as well as locations have been added... smh

I'm all for RIM, and I can't wait for BB10; however, there is one thing that needs to be corrected. There have NOT been three billion apps downloaded. RIM does not HAVE three billion apps to download. There surely have been three billion DOWNLOADS within the collection of apps they do have.

Communication is key, and RIM doesn't need any more articles giving misinformation. Alec, choose your words carefully buddy. Let's Go RIM!

they never said there is 3 billion apps, they said downloaded, if i download one and and you download the same app that is still 2 app downloads thus the statement of 3 billion apps downloaded is not a mis communication, you're just reading to much into it

The Playbook has been out for well over a year, and while I like it (and also have a Torch 9850), it's ridiculous that even the most basic apps (all of which are available on OS7) are NOT available on QNX. eBay, Fandango, Mapquest, WhatsApp, etc...Basic apps! Not to mention Netflix, Skype, HBO Go, etc. It's a HORRIBLE app store. The Playbook is great, but RIM hasn't been able to develop any kind of meaningful app store for it in well over a year. Makes me a little worried for BB10, because apps will be a huge factor in its success with consumers.

I think it depends on what apps you are looking for; although, your point is very well taken. At the moment, I have no trouble finding games; internet radio apps; and the occasional newspaper app. But finding anything work/business related has been difficult or, if the apps are available, have simple been poorly design, poorly implemented, and nonfunctional.

Let's see we have ebay, fandango older bbs have mapquest which newer blackberries can also if you disable compatibility. Whatsapp BB had that 5 years before any other platform. Honestly netflix collection isn't up to date and half the trash on there isn't worth a subscription. Skype: everyone doesn't use Skype™, last time I checked that belongs to MSFT. HBO GO is pretty much useless knowing half RIM customers are outside north America where HBO go doesn't support. For example here in Tokyo.

With all due respect, this is a nonsense comment. I'm not talking about BB handsets. I'm talking about the Playbook (QNX) app store, which does not have any of those apps (eBay, WhatsApp, Fandango, Amazon Kindle, Mapquest, etc.). QNX is the closest thing to BB10, and the Dev Alpha devices for developers are even QNX based (not BB10). And to downplay apps like Netflix, Skype and HBO Go is simply naive. You are apparently unaware of the other major players and their tablets/smartphones. With all due respect.

I think janeka's comment translates into BB10. If so he/she is correct, since QNX relates to BB10. I can't recall the last time I talked to anyone who uses Netflix or Skype. To call Janeka naïve is not cool. Netflix is not available in all markets so to those users it's useless. I have Netflix on my PS3, and while it's got quite a bit of content, that said content is dated. Should BB10 browser have all the bells and whistles we could go to sites like,,, etc for the movies and tv shows that we need to see. Netflix is all hype.

That is not fair to Camera either because I have posted more than once I had to get an Android phone because nothing on BB on ATT allows me to use Skype or Oovoo or a form of video chat I know I am not the only one who has done so and I know you are an avid reader of the blog here and have read many instances where Skype is a big hole for business folks who have customers around the world and use a BB.

I work as an international importer my suppliers and customers are all over the world and they require me to use one of these 2 common forms of communication (Skype or Oovoo) and be available at times I am not in the office or near a computer. After owning every major BB release since the 7520 and bought the PlayBook shortly after it's release in the hopes it would give me some form of video chatting ability which has yet to materialize, what would you say to this "person who does", who is limited by his 9810.

I now carry a Galaxy Note to fill in this major hole in my 9810 and I am sure I am not alone.

It's unfortunate that so many people who do want Skype and Netflix can't use it with current BB devices. Some part of my mind thinks previous BB programming architecture wasn't designed to work with those apps. If that's the case maybe BB6/7 devices were also rushed out too soon. I know personally whatever was put into BB6 Torch9800 really sucks because I'm now into my third hour of re-installing the O/S and apps as well as contacts (basically had to wipe the phone) because an update to AppWorld sent my phone into virtual repetitive reboot land. This sort of thing can't happen with BB10 because if it does I'm kissing BB/RIM goodbye for good. This is about the fifth time this year I've had to do a wipe because of apps from either RIM or Devs. Like you and many others I'm patiently waiting to see what BB10 has to offer not only with their hardware but their app space. Skype and Netflix should have been in BB7.

Sounds like we agree more than we disagree. I will tell you of all the phones I've had from RIM the 9800 was my least favorite and I paid full price to get the 9810. I felt as you say the 9800 was a rushed phone, the processor seemed under powered leading to all kinds of frustrations with the phone - and in fact I went back to the 9700 for a while until I bought the 9810 on launch day - the 9810 was a breath of fresh air in comparison.

Yes there is a workaround, a sideload, do it in the browser excuse for everything it seems (regarding PlayBook). I just don't understand why this platform can't get more than 1 messaging platform (IM+ is ok simply because it's IM+ or nothing, but it's not great). The Skype is owned by Microsoft works until I say what Oovoo or others I know are out there who's names I don't know - who do cross platform video messaging and aren't owned by a competitor (never mind that Skype is on iOS and Android).

Why is it wrong to want my BlackBerry devices to do everything the others do without the compromises and to be as frustrated as Camera531 and I are when we cannot?

I said in a forum post today I have been with BB since the 7520 and I remember a time where if I saw something I wanted to do - my BlackBerry of course did it. I want to be there again so this thing about development and concern over the lack of these apps on the PlayBook is relevant in this circumstance.

I guess we will have our answer sometime before 2013 as they start to show us more of BB10, but in the meantime folks like us will remain frustrated.

Now more people know that there is a company named Baird Equity Research. Same as BBX, Jaguar Financial, BBM. on and on

RIM is doing a much better job admittedly. I think the media is still out there to bash them just because that's what draws clicks. People are so used to hearing negativity about RIM that anything positive just seems absurd. I for one, is encouraging of RIM to make further progress in this area. I think an full content App Store is absolutely necessary for them to thrive. Amazon Kindle Fire has less than capable hardware, but the content helped them sell 6 million in just one quarter. RIM so far can't even hit that number since the PlayBook launched! I am cheering RIM on to have a much better App Store, for music, videos, books, everything.

Ok so I assume developers will see this can someone tell me how many apps will be there at launch for BB10? Ballpark figure.

The total number of apps is irrelevant. The Playbook has "thousands" of apps and most are crap. What's vital for BB10 are the "core" apps, not just the total amount. There's about 50 core apps that MUST be there. Apps like eBay, Flixster, Pandora, Netflix, Skype, WhatsApp, The Weather Channel, Amazon Kindle, etc. And core games like Angry Birds (which is one of the very few on the Playbook, so it should be there), Temple Run and other simple ones like Paper Toss and Words With Friends. There also must be solid photo editing apps, world maps and STABILITY for all. They HAVE TO BE THERE. Having 50,000 apps is meaningless without these essential core apps that most people want. Everything else is just background noise for the most part.

Didn't I read somewhere that RIM has a list of 100 top apps that it wants to have on the BB10 at launch? Presumably this include all of the 'must have' apps to compete in the US market. Honestly it seems to be always about US apps - if it is not about Netflix, it's about Hulu and if not about Hulu it's about HBO or.something else. I'm sure RIM is hearing the voices and knows it needs to win back some of the US market and therefore ensure a bright future.

I, for one, never fully believe the us media a whole lot. They are controlled by the corporate heavies, and I think we all know who they are. Control the media, and you control the flow of Information. Control the Information and you control customers influence.

Consider what apps and games were available on playbook a year ago and contrast that with what is available on the playbook today. When I got my playbook, the game selection was pretty awful with the exception of a few games like need for speed. Today, there are more kickass games than I can afford, and they just keep on coming. Galaxy on fire? And Sonic 4 even came out early (I heard it was coming with OS 10). Incredible games on the playbook.

Their apps are lagging behind the games, but this is true for Android and metooOS. I have all the apps I want, some are android ports (meh) but I'm hoping they will be made native before too long.

The OS10 dev device (PLAYBOOK) that we have been testing for RIM over the last year+ has really come a LONG way, and it just keeps getting better. Once the OS is on the phones, expect things to REALLY take off.

I have the Playbook and it's great, but the app store is HORRIBLE. Android's Honeycomb tablets have a much better app selection. NIGHT AND DAY. The Playbook is still missing the most basic core apps, like eBay, Pandora, Flixster, WhatsApp, Amazon Kindle, Netflix, HBO Go, Skype, Words with Friends, Temple Run...And the list goes on and on. Both Android and IOS have had these for years. What's more outrageous is the fact that BB7 HAS many of these core apps. The Playbook is better than it was at launch (especially with the upgrade to 2.0), but it's not even close to the competition as far as apps are concerned. NOT EVEN CLOSE! Which is a real shame after well over a year.

The sample size from this survey is pretty small and I don't think by any means is very indicative of the developer market in general. Anyone interested in seeing how well Blackberry developers are faring will be interested to know that they are making more money than iOS developers. Check out VisionMobile's Developer Economics 2012 report which samples over 1,500 developers internationally. You can download their free report here: