The Kik messaging client for BlackBerry has been yanked from RIM’s official software portal, App World. No comment as to why was made, but it’s possible that Kik’s growth has been too much of a strain on RIM’s hosting. The more conspiratorial among us might think RIM is trying to to nip a potential BlackBerry Messenger competitor in the bud.
You see, the main selling point of Kik is that it’s like BBM, only it works across all of the major mobile platforms. Personally, I never really understood the appeal of that pitch, since Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, and Windows Live Messenger are just as supportive of multiple mobile OSes, and work on desktop and web to boot. RIM was even the one to make those apps for BlackBerry.
What I think RIM might not like is the possibility that in the long run, Kik may crack open the tight-knit BBM community and offer it to the other platforms using the new BlackBerry Social developer tools. Many a BlackBerry is sold simply because kids want to talk with their friends on BBM, but if that exclusivity is thrown out the window because there’s a widely-known workaround to contact BBM people from other platforms (mobile or otherwise), then those shoppers have all of their smartphone purchasing options open to them again. Plus it’s easy enough tying into the other instant messaging networks in the same way IM+ or Nimbuzz have done.
Taking off our tinfoil hats for a second, there are more mundane possibilities, like Kik accidentally violated developer terms with the way it automatically populated the local address book. We’ll have to wait on a comment from either party before knowing for sure why the app was pulled. Personally, I preferred the first Kik product, which was a very promising mobile music store that got bogged down with licensing problems. This setback likely won’t kill off Kik Messenger, since the app is still sitting pretty in the Android Market and iTunes App Store, but it certainly won’t help their progress in becoming as ubiquitous as they’d like to be.