A few days ago we covered a from the forums post outlining that the app ecosystem on BlackBerry was one of the key reasons for BlackBerry 10, and ultimately BlackBerry itself, not doing so well in the eyes of a lot of consumers. It sparked some pretty heavy conversation for and against the statements being made but I personally still believe it to be true. If there were more key apps onboard, BlackBerry would be doing better. The most recent example of that which I referred to was Windows Phone 8 and that has again come up in the CrackBerry Forums with others noticing as well.
Overall, great conversation was taken from the post, but at the end of the day the conversation doesn't amount to much if we don't know exactly what BlackBerry is doing about it all. We can suggest throwing money at developers, we can suggest BlackBerry offering to build apps for providers, we can suggest making a more concentrated effort to actually have available apps promoted accordingly since that is clearly a problem, but what's REALLY being done about it? What are the people in charge of handling this stuff doing to ensure it's all taken care of? That's a big question for many folks who feel the situation needs improving.
As it turns out, eWeek was asking the same thing as us and ultimately had an interview with Vice President, Global Alliances and Business Development at BlackBerry, Marty Mallick to discuss just that. It's an interesting read that offers some insight into how exactly BlackBerry is dealing with the situation and after reading the article and hearing from several personal sources after my ecosystem article went up, I do have to say I feel a little bit better about it all thanks to the understanding I gained.
"So, to your question of whose end is the issue on, I'd say for the most part ... it's a business decision from those application providers, [regarding] when is the right time for them to support a new platform," said Mallick.
"BlackBerry is doing everything it can to encourage the vendors, including offering tech support, free tools and "opportunities related to their business," Mallick said. For each vendor, it customizes its pitch.
"We really look and say, 'What are the motivators, what are the obstacles preventing you?' In some cases, it's marketing support. ... In other cases, it's maintenance," said Mallick. "To be clear, in cases where it's warranted, we do offer funding, to help bring people to the platform."
One thing that stuck out though, were the comments about the apps that are in fact already on the platform. Mallick highlights this using the example of the MLB app. This app was pulled from legacy devices only to appear on BlackBerry 10 as one of the best apps on the platform, and no one was really talking about that. In short, concentrating on the bad never looking at the good. My words, not his.
However, that argument has a bit of a flaw as well because there are a slew of examples put forth where the apps that do exist are not being promoted accordingly even by those who are producing the apps. Why did Slacker Radio, who builds one of the best music apps on BlackBerry 10 put out an email with barely even a mention of BlackBerry 10 support? Same goes for StubHub.
To close this one out, again I do feel better having read the eWeek article highlighting what BlackBerry is actually doing. Realistically, I knew this all along, but it's good to have it reiterated and I think later on it should be reiterated again and again, perhaps by BlackBerry themselves on the BlackBerry blog and blasted out through their social media channels.
Everyone needs to know what they're doing, instead of being left to their own thoughts, which ultimately always seem to go to the dark side and end up with people thinking they're simply ignoring the problem when really, they're not. That said though, there's always room for improvement and I think they still need to be looking at how to improve it overall, starting with the promotion of apps. There's no reason mass emails should be sent out without highlight an apps availability on a certain platform.
Special thanks to @casperkaroff for the links!