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The ridiculous BlackBerry Messenger rollout reminds us why the company is circling the drain

Every time I see someone on Twitter or Facebook talking about BlackBerry Messenger on iPhone, I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

It's out, but it's not. It's working fine, but it isn't. And you can download it right now, but you have to wait in line. Please, please tell me this is just some sort of elaborate, not-at-all-funny joke. As though we needed another reason to think that RIM's Blackberry's management is incompetent, we now have a poorly-handled software launch to pin on them as well.

Way back in 2007 I actually owned a BlackBerry and, truth be told, BBM was probably the only decent thing about it. It had read receipts (which were fancy for a mobile device at the time) and it was fast. It was great for its time, but these days just about every messaging client on the App Store -- not to mention iMessage -- can do everything the BBM app can do.

I'm tempted to chalk this seemingly absurd BBM hunger by iPhone owners as nostalgia run wild, because unless you have BlackBerry-toting friends and you're feeling left out, there's literally zero reason to bother downloading it. If, for some reason, you feel that switching your digital social interactions to BBM is a good idea, keep these bullet points in mind:

  • You'll need to exchange PINs with everyone you wish to chat with. This is great for avoiding spam, but tedious to get groups of friends to commit to.
  • You can only be logged into your PIN on one device at a time, so if you have an iPhone and an iPad, you'll need to choose which one you want to receive BBM messages on. If you log into one device with your PIN, it will log you out of the other.
  • Remember, this is BlackBerry. The company could change hands at any moment, and with it, any and all support of BBM for iPhone.

And then there's the wait list. The fact that we're even talking about a wait list for an instant messaging client is beyond absurd. The company is flat out begging users to "count on" them, but it can't successfully launch the messaging service they've built their entire brand around on a pair of new platforms? I'm pretty sure SnapChat has scaled better than BlackBerry is even capable of, and that app is almost exclusively used for sending dirty photos.

Not that any of this should come as a surprise -- you can't layoff 40% of your company and then pretend that it's business as usual. Oh, I'm sorry, we're talking about BlackBerry, so of course they can pretend that. Just the same way they spent the past half decade pretending that they were somehow in an untouchable land where business customers need physical keyboards and consumers want their devices to be as obtuse as possible.

I signed up for BBM and I'm currently waiting for my turn to use it. Like some sort of digital soup kitchen, BlackBerry will open its doors to me at some point and allow me to sample its expired goods. When that day comes, I'll remember how big of a pain in the ass it is to exchange PINs with my friends and delete the app, which is exactly what anyone with a smartphone in 2013 should do.

Thanks to @LondonComp for the reminder that RIM is no longer the corporate name of Blackberry.

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