What If Apple Simply Doesn’t Approve BBM for iOS?


There’s been a lot of talk about BBM going cross-platform since it was announced at BlackBerry Live 2013, but the conversation has largely been centered around whether BBM going cross-platform is good for device sales. The real question people should be asking, especially employees of BlackBerry, is whether they’ll be able to get in the App Store in the first place. There are several App Store submission guidelines that BBM violates, as well as the ultimate guideline which is “whatever Apple wants.”

Let’s just take a quick look at the App Store guidelines:

2.11 Apps that duplicate Apps already in the App Store may be rejected, particularly if there are many of them, such as fart, burp, flashlight, and Kama Sutra Apps.

This is one of the guidlines that BlackBerry might get tripped on. Sure, there’s room for another messaging app in the App Store, any consumer will agree with that, but what if Apple decides that BBM is coming too late into the game and isn’t differentiated enough to merit being accepted? That’s a possibility that BlackBerry hopefully has an answer for.

3.1 Apps or metadata that mentions the name of any other mobile platform will be rejected.

It’s pretty clear that this guideline is meant to prevent trademark infringement but it could also be a defensive mechanism to allow Apple to restrict mentions of other platforms on its device. Since the goal of BBM on iOS is to essentially steal marketshare, Apple could leverage this guideline to deny BlackBerry entry to the App Store.

2.12 Apps that are not very useful, are simply web sites bundled as apps, or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected.

Of course BBM is a useful app, but the issue here is that Apple often uses this guideline to deny apps that compete with native functionality of the device. Since BBM competes directly with iMessage and FaceTime, Apple could deny BBM.

The end of the document is the real kicker though, it states that it is a “living document that will evolve as we are presented with new Apps and situations, and we’ll update it periodically to reflect these changes.”

The end of the document is pretty much saying “these are just guidelines and we reserve the right to deny anyone for whatever reason.”

BlackBerry has been pretty open about the fact that BBM for iOS is a way of increasing market share for BlackBerry and giving users more reasons to go to BlackBerry. So why would Apple approve the app at all? What is BlackBerry’s plan B? If I were Apple, I would simply deny BlackBerry because it would force Thorsten to explain to shareholders how they promised BBM on iOS and couldn’t deliver. It would send the stock price down and it would simply be a good business move for Apple to screw the competition.

  • http://papogp.com Diego Nei

    3.1 - On my Z10, the app actually reads BBM. Yeah, we all know what it stands for, but the name of the company isn’t in your face.

    But yeah, can could do it. And it would look bad for them as well as hurt BlackBerry’s strategy (whatever it is).

  • RP Singh

    It would be awesome for Apple to deny BBM and I am sure that is what BlackBerry is counting on, it will make Apple look bad to all the apple phone users who were eagerly awaiting BBM after so many years of hoping for it, and then Android and BlackBerry users will have it and Apple and Microsoft users will be left in the dust…

  • Koolpep

    If that’s that case wouldn’t apple also not allow google handouts or skype from Microsoft, etc? I believe most iOS users won’t bother with BBM, they have iMessage and whatsapp etc. the only people who really care are we BB users. I do hope though that it works well when it comes and generates some positive buzz for BB, maybe even becomes the second cross platform service…

  • Krissy

    Thats not gonna happen they keep putting it off so it could work with ios7 thats wy there saying september use your brains!

  • RAS

    I don’t think there are more than a handful of iPhone users who are “eagerly awaiting BBM.” The best solution for iPhone users would be some kind of integration of BBM with iMessage. Maybe a new color for BBM iMessages. Right now iMessages are blue for iPhone-to-iPhone iMessages and green for everyone else. If BBM iMessages were purple or orange it might be an interesting (only mildly so) differentiator. But as a stand alone app, BBM for iPhone is not going to blow up anybody’s skirt.

  • RAS

    Denying BBM wouldn’t hurt Apple’s image one bit, except with BlackBerry users. And why would Apple give a hoot what BlackBerry users think? It’s up to BlackBerry to find a way to integrate BBM into Apple’s existing iMessage service. When I was using an iPhone my BlackBerry-using friends just had to text message me like everybody else. For iPhone users it’s either a text message or an iMessage, and it’s all handled without the iPhone user having to do anything at all.

  • http://about.me/kylemcinnes Kyle McInnes

    It’s a great point: why would Apple deny BlackBerry when they have approved Microsoft (Skype) and Google. Perhaps because BlackBerry most closely competes in terms of owning the entire stack from software to hardware. Google’s Android isn’t directly competing with Apple and neither is Windows Phone through Nokia.

    It’s just a thought and a discussion point.

  • http://papogp.com Diego Nei

    Remember the Samsung lawsuit?

    Even though Apple won in the US, pretty much everybody was not quite happy with the patent-troll image Apple was creating for themselves.

    Anyway… Read my comment again. You got some stuff mixed up in there.

  • http://papogp.com Diego Nei

    Do keep in mind that since BlackBerry lost a lot of market share to Apple, a LOT of iPhone users were BBM users and have fond memories of the app.

    iMessage has ONE thing I’d like BBM to have - unique ID, get the message in any and all devices logged to your AppleID.

    Now, if it can do ScreenSharing, free audio and voice calls, groups with shared calendars/lists/pic galeries, voice notes… Then sure, people should not bother with BBM.

  • Kim

    I am a iphone user but a lot of my friends are on android or switching to android. If Apple doesn’t have BBM I will not buy an iphone5s but rather get the SG4. It’s apples choice as I’ve heard a lot of good things from those who have a SG4. BTW a lot of iphone users were once blackberry users including myself

  • RAS

    I went BlackBerry > iPhone > BlackBerry & Lumia 928.

    Once upon a time my BBM contact list was over 20 people, and I had to keep it DOWN to just 20. Today it’s 2. Or 3 if you count the BlackBerry “Keys to the City” promo via BBM.

    BBM going cross-platform is a tremendous opportunity for BlackBerry, but really nobody outside of the BlackBerry community (small and getting smaller) is going to give a hoot if BBM doesn’t go cross-platform. Most have never even heard of BBM.

  • ShanRSA

    You can all rest assured that BBM will be featured in the app store and sooner than you think!!!!