There was a certain irony that was almost comical last week when RIM CEO Thorsten Heins announced to 2000 BlackBerry developers in Europe that the company was “ready to compete” because that statement came during a week when the BlackBerry maker lost to high profile enterprise clients – both Halliburton and NOAA will be dropping the BlackBerry support and replacing existing handsets with iPhones.
The statement became even more ironic, though with a tragic rather than comic tone, over the weekend as it became widely known that one major travel company that it was canceling all plans future updates on the BlackBerry platform as well as terminating technical/user support for BlackBerry users.
KAYAK, an online travel service that allows users to search for the best travel deals across various travel sites and services, announced that it had made the decision to suspend any updates, bug fixes, and user support of its BlackBerry app. The company praised RIM as a smartphone pioneer, but made it clear that there simply was enough potential to warrant continued support of the platform.
The two specific reasons KAYAK cites for its decision highlight the seriousness of RIM’s problems.
First, the company mentions declining use of its BlackBerry app – which indicates a declining number of users. That’s certainly played out in overall smartphone share reports over the past few years.
Second, and definitely more scathing, KAYAK said of the BlackBerry platform “it’s not working out to be a great channel for consumer mobile applications” – something that undercuts RIM’s belief that it can make the BlackBerry into a consumer platform.
KAYAK does note that its mobile-optimized site will run on the BlackBerry browser but also listed the platforms that it will continue to support with a native app. That list includes iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and even Nokia’s discontinued Symbian.