BlackBerry Botches BBM Weekend Rollout


BlackBerry's eagerly anticipated rollout of its BlackBerry Messaging service to rival Apple iOS and Google Android platforms was put on ice this weekend when an early Android version of the software hit the Web ahead of schedule.

"Our teams continue to work around the clock to bring BBM to Android and iPhone, but [will release it] only when it's ready and we know it will live up to your expectations," BlackBerry's social media manager, Luke Reimer, wrote in a blog.

[Related: What BlackBerry Got Right And Wrong With BB10]

BlackBerry said interest in the BBM is "incredible" with more than 1.1 million people downloading the BBM service within the first eight hours of the unofficial release. "Consequently, this unreleased version caused issues, which we have attempted to address throughout the day," Reimer said.

BlackBerry declined to say when the official rollout would be rescheduled. It said Android BBM apps that were already downloaded would be disabled and urged users to register at the BBM website for updates on availability.

The failed launch of the BBM service comes on the heels of a bad week for BlackBerry. BlackBerry reported a near-$1-billion second-quarter loss Friday and earlier in the week said it would have to lay off about 40 percent of its worldwide workforce, or 4,500 employees.

Also, according to reports, BlackBerry co-founder and former co-CEO Mike Lazaridis is in talks with private equity firms Blackstone Group and Carlyle Group about a possible bid for the company. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported that the private equity firms have been considering a takeover for the past year.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 23, 2013