Why Facebook for BlackBerry Was Discontinued

Earlier in the week, an update to the native Facebook applications for BlackBerry 10 and BBOS went live in their respective app stores.

An update that has caused lots of buzz surrounding the choices made which ultimately produced a web-launcher icon for the devices; instead of the desired feature and bug fix alternative. Despite BlackBerry's attempts to clarify the issues by releasing statments on the Inside Blogs site, many consumers and developers alike are left confused on the subject.

We've seen a lot of commentary on our BBM Channel, so we wanted to clarify and reiterate the statements made by BlackBerry which should hopefully clear the air on who ultimately made the final call. Lou Gazzola took to the blog to comment on BlackBerry's official stance on the choices, and their committment to the BlackBerry 10 platform.

Here's what Lou said,

The app landscape continues to evolve, and in ways that are not always within our control. Recently, Facebook made the decision to discontinue support of their essential APIs for BlackBerry and WhatsApp announced they would end support for BlackBerry 10 and BBOS at the end of 2016.

We are extremely disappointed in their decision as we know so many users love these apps. We fought back to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to change their minds, but at this time, their decision stands (but let them know how you feel on social media, using the hashtag #ILoveBB10Apps). Despite this, we have worked hard to ensure our end users have the best experience in light of this decision, and are continuing to search for alternate solutions.

To be clear, Facebook made the decision to discontinue the license to use these APIs on any BlackBerry platform. I know you're curious as to why, but the answer comes down to resources to support a miniscule section of their mobile API. Comparing BlackBerry to a larger segment of their users, such as Android, the company for whatever reasons chose to discontinue the support. This means that BlackBerry cannot continue to allow use of the native application they built, since it would be deemed as illegal use of the APIs without license.

The developer community for BlackBerry is likely one of the strongest on any platforms. It's amazing folks from around the world who wholeheartedly believe in the platform - sometimes they seem more committed and dedicated than BlackBerry themselves. Here's what Lou says about their own committment to the platform:

Our commitment to BlackBerry 10 and to developers has not changed – we know our developer community continues to be one of the strongest proponents of BlackBerry 10 and they are creating thousands of apps every month. As a way to support them and to promote new apps, we’re now featuring some of the best native applications on BlackBerry World in a list called “Great Apps on BlackBerry.” The category will be a list of 20 applications, featured for two weeks, once per month, similar to the way we feature apps on the BlackBerry World Carousel. We’re also continuing whenever we can to invest in apps important to users, such as the update to the Twitter app released today with important fixes and another update coming in a month with new features. This ensures that our many BlackBerry 10 customers have the best OS and apps possible.

For most, the choices above are difficult to swallow, especially when many feel as if the platform is being abandoned by most everyone. Two of the amazing benefits of BlackBerry 10 however, is the extensive will of developers who've created third-party applications for Facebook (which you can find by searching in BlackBerry World), and the ability to run most .apk Android application files. This means if you can't find a great alternative, you can always use the Android alternative.

What's Your Take On Facebook Closing the APIs?