RIM has pulled the plug on fast-growing messaging app Kik, in a move that has the start-up musing it may have been a threat to RIM's own offering.
Kik revealed yesterday that RIM had blocked future sales of the Kik client from the BlackBerry App World, and has shut down “push” messages for the service, meaning messages sent to and from BlackBerry devices are delayed by up to an hour.
RIM has also revoked the startup's access to the BlackBerry Software Development Kit (SDK), freezing all future development on the BlackBerry version of the app.
Chief Ted Livington said he was confused by the decision. “We think it’s fair to say that, until very recently, our relationship has been nothing less than friendly,” he said.
RIM told GigaOM it had decided to shutter the service due to concerns over the application and service, adding that the SDK was pulled because Kik breached contractual agreements
BlackBerry users account for around a million of the 2.5 million users Kik has signed up since re-launching its service a fortnight ago. Services for iOS and Android devices are unaffected by RIM’s move, the firm said.
Kik has courted controversy for its now-discontinued practice of collecting emails on first-time user's phone contact list and checking them against a database of known users to offer suggestions on new contacts, GigaOm reported.
Livington said Kik had “worked cooperatively with RIM at every step” of the re-launch, and that RIM had not raised any concerns. Indeed, the device maker placed Kik in its featured apps list for the upcoming BlackBerry Messenger platform just six weeks ago, he said.
“Some people have suggested that we’re 'too similar' to RIM’s instant messaging product, and that somehow this is behind their decision,” he said.