Why Did RIM Pull Viral Messenger App Kik from App World?



Kik is an instant messaging service much like BlackBerry Messenger, except it’s cross-platform. Downloads for the app have been pretty explosive, with the company reporting having exceeded 2M users due to viral growth. Recently, Kik downloads were suspended and there’s a lot of speculation going around as to why this may have happened.

On Friday, RIM told Kik that no new downloads could be made of the app, citing concerns that it “could not elaborate on at the time.” The app continues to sell on Apple and Android, so why has RIM shut this one down?

Some are claiming that the app was pulled due to a battery drain issue, but this probably isn’t the case. There are many apps and themes that are in App World that have a battery drain issue, and RIM doesn’t seem to be pulling them. The more likely issue is the same feature that has helped Kik explode virally. Kik has a fairly aggressive strategy of pulling contacts into the app and using that to promote downloads. On the other had, WhatsApp uses a similar strategy, and even keeps a copy on their own servers, making it an even bigger security threat. So why isn’t WhatsApp pulled?

UPDATE: While the VentureBeat story sourced in this article claims that WhatsApp stores your contacts on their server, WhatsApp wanted us to know that this is not true. They write:

Our application uses your phone number, just like SMS and Voice calling does. The concept is very simple: if somebody knows your phone number they can call you, sms you and whatsapp you. We do NOT store your address book or your contacts on our servers. That would be a stupid thing to due from both privacy issues and design limitations.

Perhaps none of this is RIM at all. RIM can’t really stop someone from letting users download an app from the company’s own servers, and Kik has pulled the app from their own site as well. It could be a measure to keep a positive relationship with RIM, or simply they’re using the downtime to upgrade servers and drive a little marketing behind the app.

UPDATE FROM RIM: “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.”

  • http://www.berryfication.com/ rezn

    This is the best article I’ve read on the Kik situation. Kudos guys. And really it’s only fair to shine some light on them in a positive way. They’ve really upped popularity and that can be a huge strain on servers. People are tweeting malicious things without giving the company a chance to explain. We still see the same thing for SocialScope and other popular apps. It’s no wonder issimo keeps their app under lock & key because this is how people behave.

  • http://www.willw.net/ Will Robertson

    I’m willing to bet that new downloads were stopped because Kik was causing problems to RIM’s push infrastructure. Before downloads were halted, there were many periods of downtime for Kik users on BBs. This is probably a temporary ban until RIM fixes some scalability issues on their end for Kik to use the push services without running into more problems.

  • Diesel2

    I had thought it was KIK that was having issues, not RIM.

  • patrick

    this post didn’t answer the reason why…i’m still in the dark after having read this…I think it was because it was the 1st (afaik) app that allowed for cross-platform with the read and delivered notifications..and RIM panicked. But I don’t know why RIM won’t reallow it..maybe it’s because they have a lawsuit against KIK (i believe i read that they have one). Cuz, now, there are apps like LiveProfile and PingChat! that have both of those features and they havent’ been banned by Rim.

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