Research In Motion: New York Times Scraps BlackBerry App, Says Website Offers Better Experience

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Flickr: WallyG
Flickr: WallyG

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The New York Times is doing away with its BlackBerry app in the latest blow to troubled Canadian smartphone maker Research In Motion (TSX:RIM).

The news organization announced that as of Monday it stopped supporting the NYTimes app for the BlackBerry as well as nixing its DealBook BlackBerry Reader platform.

It also cancelled its support for the Palm Pre, by device maker Palm.

Users of RIM's BlackBerry devices will have to go directly to the New York Times site through the phone's web browser — instead of using an app — to get the latest news over their smartphones.

"Currently, our mobile web site offers a more complete New York Times experience than the NYTimes app native to your device," the Times said in a statement.

The announcement comes as a blow to RIM, which has been hurriedly trying to get more developers on its side ahead of the launch of its delayed BlackBerry 10 operating system early next year.

RIM has acknowledged that its BlackBerry App World apps store has lacked the broad selection of competitors, in particular Apple's iTunes store.

The company announced Wednesday that a new video store with a catalog of movies and TV shows to buy or rent —similar to the iTunes store — is now available for PlayBook customers.

Marty Malik, RIM's vice president of global alliances and business development said Wednesday that applications and content are "strategic areas" targeted for investment as it builds the new BlackBerry platform.

“Our base of 78 million BlackBerry users worldwide represents a significant opportunity for content partners to reach their audiences," he said.

“The BlackBerry platform continues to grow with our application vendor base increasing by 157 per cent in the last year. We are dedicated to working with the developer community in incorporating their feedback as we build toward the launch of BlackBerry 10.”

Several popular companies have so far opted out of creating apps for the BlackBerry, including Netflix and Skype, though the company has said it's actively working to attract them.

In November, Google said it would stop supporting an app for its popular Gmail email service.

RIM is also facing a number of corporate defectors that have ditched the company's technology in favour of competitors.

Last week, Australia's Quantis Airlines decided to replace their BlackBerrys with iPhones after an employee vote.

RIM said in a statement last month that it expects the next several quarters to continue to be very challenging for its business.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based company saw revenue drop 33 per cent to $2.8 billion in the quarter ended June 2 down from $4.2 billion in the prior quarter, and has seen stiff competition from Apple's iPhone and devices that use Google's Android platform.

RIM shares were down 15 cents to close at $6.93 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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