The story of why Kik has been pulled from App World just got more complicated. Today, Kik posted an open letter to Kik users asking RIM to let Kik back in App World. Recently, RIM not only pulled Kik from App World, but they have removed Kik’s access to the BlackBerry Software Development Kit and Signing Keys, so any future development is frozen. So what exactly is going on here? It’s obvious not all the facts are on the table.
Kik doesn’t openly accuse RIM of pulling the application because it directly competes with BBM, but they do say:
“Some people have suggested that we’re “too similar” to RIM’s instant messaging product, and that somehow this is behind their decision.”
But could that really be the issue? RIM does have a clause that prevents users from duplicating core features of the BlackBerry platform, particularly email, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem when it comes to messaging services. Just look at all the other messaging services in App World.
One interesting comment on the open letter comes from the commenter “Insecure App” and says: “Secure your App where it does not send passwords in plain text and the world might take you a bit more seriously.” There have been a few apps taken down for security concerns but it’s unlikely this would cause so much turmoil. Surely if something like this was the concern, they would let Kik fix the issue rather than take their signing keys.
When we first wrote about this story, we pointed to the fact that Kik uses an aggressive contact scraping method which has also helped them explode virally. Could it be that Kik is trying to distract users and the public from whatever system they’re using to virally grow?
RIM put out a statement about the Kik Messenger service saying: “RIM became aware of a number of issues and customer concerns regarding the Kik app and service and, following discussions with Kik, the app was removed from BlackBerry App World. RIM is actively reviewing the issues and potential resolutions, and is also continuing its discussions with Kik.”
Perhaps RIM has suggested to Kik that they remove whatever is helping them explode virally because it’s a security concern and Kik won’t comply. In general, it’s important that everyone step back from the situation until both sides have had time to explain their position and we truly understand what the root problem is here.
UPDATE FROM RIM: “RIM became aware of a number of issues and customer concerns regarding the Kik app and service. Following discussions with Kik, the app was removed from BlackBerry App World on November 12. Upon further investigation, RIM concluded that Kik had breached contractual obligations. Based on the broad scope and seriousness of the issues and concerns, RIM terminated its agreements with Kik and withdrew RIM’s support for Kik’s service.”
So it looks like Kik broke some pretty serious contractual agreements but we’re still not exactly sure what those are. Looks like Kik got a little too aggressive and didn’t acquiesce to some of RIM’s demands.