RIM scraps BlackBerry App World developer ID notarization rule

In the wake of a much-discussed developer rant against the logistical difficulties of creating software for Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry platform, RIM has responded with a significant change in its BlackBerry App World developer agreement, abandoning the requirement that partners submit a notarized proof of identification to distribute their applications through the storefront. "We learned that this has become a pain point for some developers, so we have been working behind the scenes to remove this barrier," BlackBerry Developer Relations and Developer Program head Tyler Lessard writes on the Inside BlackBerry Developer's Blog. "You still have to submit proof of identity, but now that can be as simple as faxing or emailing a copy of your driver's license."

Lessard notes that BlackBerry App World developers may still submit notarized proof of ID in lieu of their driver's license information if they so choose, adding that businesses must still send in official documentation to validate their company information. Lessard also notes that RIM is at work on a more viable long-term solution: "We are working towards providing a fully automated online process that respects the privacy and security requirements of all parties involved and will provide more updates as we progress."

Online debate over RIM's developer program practices erupted late last month after developer Jamie Murai posted an open letter to RIM's Developer Relations team on his blog, announcing his intention to scrap his aspirations to build applications for the forthcoming PlayBook tablet. The notarized ID requirement was one of multiple targets of the letter, which also called into question the cost of BlackBerry App World registration, the headaches of downloading multiple app SDKs and simulators, and excessive and confusing documentation. "On a more serious note, being the underdog, you need to make your process AT LEAST as simple as Apple's or Google's, if not more so," Murai wrote. "You need to make your tools AT LEAST as good as Apple's or Google's, if not more so. You have failed at both." A chorus of follow-up developer comments on the Inside BlackBerry blog echoed Murai's complaints.  

For more:
- read this Inside BlackBerry Developer's Blog entry

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