BUSINESS

Facebook Drops BlackBerry App Support; Some Predict Smartphone Maker's Demise

03/23/2016 03:10 EDT | Updated 03/23/2016 03:59 EDT

Facebook has decided to drop BlackBerry from its app support roster. The announcement was made via a BlackBerry blog by Lou Gazzola, the leader of the App Ecosystem and Developer Outreach team late last week.

“The app landscape continues to evolve, and in ways that are not always within our control,” he wrote, rather resignedly.

This announcement comes on the heels of WhatsApp’s withdrawal of support for its BlackBerry app earlier this year. WhatsApp and its parent company, Facebook, are set to make the change by the end of the year.

blackberry hilary clinton

Arguably BlackBerry's most famous user, Hilary Clinton, in a now iconic picture showing the former Secretary of State sitting on a military plane and checking her emails on her phone.

According to a statement from WhatsApp, it was a seven year itch that prompted the company’s move. Back in 2009, when WhatsApp first launched, Blackberry and Nokia users accounted for 70 per cent of the smartphone market. Seven years later, it's now dominated by Google, Apple and Microsoft.

“As we look ahead to our next seven years, we want to focus our efforts on the mobile platforms the vast majority of people use,” the press release said — a sentiment apparently shared by Facebook.

Already some, like Forbes, are predicting doom for BlackBerry. “The modern smartphone is a connected smartphone, but the connect that matters is the millions of potential users that a smartphone can connect to a business,” Ewan Spence wrote for Forbes.

CNET predicts that Facebook's will be the straw that broke the camel’s back for even the most loyal BlackBerry user. “Now that support for the world's most popular social media and messaging apps is gone, there are fewer reasons for rusted-on users to stay,” Claire Reilly wrote.

The team at BlackBerry went so far as to launch a social media campaign, #ILoveBB10Apps, in the hopes of changing the two companies' minds — but Gazzola says their minds are pretty set.

BlackBerry, meanwhile, asserts that it will continue to work with its developer team to update existing apps and look for alternatives for the soon-to-be-gone fan favourites.

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