Blackberry pulls BBM app launch

Oliver Smith
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BLACKBERRY suffered yet another setback over the weekend with the launch of its mobile messaging platform BBM on rival iOS and Android platforms. The app was unceremoniously pulled from the respective online stores just hours after it launched yesterday morning.

The company said 1.1m users had downloaded the app in the hours after it launched, but an unreleased BBM Android app – that was accidentally released – had caused BlackBerry to cancel the rollout.

The group will this week report an operating loss of more than $950m (£593m) for the second quarter ending 31 August.

The smartphone maker warned last Friday that in response to the heavy losses it would also cut more than a third of its global workforce to reduce costs.

Most of the loss is attributed to a writedown of $930m to $960m on its ballooning stockpile of unsold BlackBerry Z10 devices.

BlackBerry, which once employed more than 20,000 staff, will look to cut 40 per cent of its workforce, reducing its headcount to under 8,000.

“The company has sailed off a cliff,” said BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis. “What do you expect when you announce you’re up for sale? Who wants to commit to a platform that could possibly be shut down?”

BlackBerry – which has lost market share to rivals Apple and Samsung in recent years – saw its share price tank on Friday in response to the news, crashing 17 per cent to close at $8.7 a share.

Last month BlackBerry announced a special committee had been formed to consider strategic options for the company, including its possible sale.

Last night the Wall Street Journal reported that the troubled group bought a corporate jet as recently as July.

Blackberry purchased a 2006 Bombardier Global Express in July, according to Canadian aircraft-registry records, the newspaper’s web-site reported. The report said similar planes are listed for sale for about $25 million to $29 million on a used-aircraft marketing website.

BlackBerry will report its second quarter results on Friday 27 September.