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RIM Revokes Kik Messenger Signing Keys and Push Access

Kik Logo I honestly don’t know what to make out of this one. Both Kik and RIM have been pretty quiet on why the popular and viral Kik messenger app was pulled from App World. Manoj let me know that Kik has now posted a few details on their side of the story. According to Kik:

“It boils down to this: RIM is kicking BlackBerry users off Kik.”

Kik confirms that it was RIM that excluded Kik from App World. On top of that they say that RIM has shut down Kik’s access to the Push API so messages to BlackBerry users are now delayed up to an hour. RIM has also made what I think is a pretty unprecedented move of revoking Kik’s BlackBerry development signing keys essentially freezing any future development of Kik even off of App World and without Push.

According to Kik they have been working cooperatively with RIM and until very recently they relationship has been “nothing less than friendly.” RIM approved Kik in App World. They also gave Kik’s upcoming music service an award at DevCon over a year ago and at DevCon them announced that Kik was one of the first 5 featured apps planning to use RIM’s upcoming BBM Social Platform API. Kik further stresses that they do not think that it is battery life and privacy issues that have it kicked out of the RIM platform because they have updated the app with better battery management and additional privacy controls.

All in all I think this is the first case I have heard of RIM actually disabling the signing keys of a developer. I can understand blocking their access to the Push API since that might stress RIM’s infrastructure and requires payment over a certain load but that does not seem to be the issue at play.

So this makes me wonder. Is this a cautionary tale to BlackBerry developers? Try to do something better than RIM and you will be banned? We only have one side of the story so there is no way to tell but “down that road madness lies.” I will be doing some digging to see if I can come up with RIM’s side of the story but it blows my mind that RIM revokes a valid and useful app yet allows Boosters and Optimizers to run free in App World. The thing is that there are quite a few developers who have apps similar to Kik. Will they also get banned? Does this maybe have something to do with the Kik CEO previously working at RIM?

Who knows. What do you think?

5 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. This is a mistake. This is the same stuff Apple does, which is also wrong for an active and progressive development environment.

  2. The last thing RIM needs to be doing right now is alienating third-party developers. They need all they can get if they want to keep competing.

  3. The difference between Kik and other is the rate of growth Kik has been experiencing. I have to wonder if it is possible for RIM to trend BBM usage of a user pre and post using Kik.

    Who know the real reason for RIM’s actions it may have nothing to do with competition, but keeping silent can only lead people to believe…. BBM is one of the main reasons so many people stay with BlackBerry. Personally I would understand protecting that but at least try to hide that fact

  4. “All in all I think this is the first case I have heard of RIM actually disabling the signing keys of a developer.”

    Doesn’t this suggest that something truly unique is going on here?

    While I appreciate kik’s recent explosive adoption, it is not a new app. If RIM had some nefarious plan to crush competition to BBM why not do it before the app becomes popular? Why not eliminate all of the BBMesque apps like pingchat and whatsapp? Which are very similar and considerably more full featured. The idea that this was done to squash a competitor to BBM makes no sense at all. A more reasonable explanation is that the app was doing something it was not supposed to do and there was a unique breach of the agreement with RIM.

    Further, if you notice, the statements so far by both companies have been very careful not to be to specific. In this regard, if these suggestions of conspiracy are true wouldn’t it be in RIM’s interests to make a specific and unfavorable statement about kik messenger that had the potential of effecting its remaining business?

    Finally, kik drinks power like a drunken sailor on my Torch and was down all the time, even before this controversy reared its ugly head. As a result, I am perplexed that the app was popular at all with Blackberry users.

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