Kik - Where Oh Where...Have You Gone?
Kik is a very popular, unique, cross-platform instant messaging service for BlackBerry, Android and iPhone users. Kiks ideology is to create a global IM system where everyone worldwide can communicate without any platform barriers except, perhaps, language? On October 19, 2010, Kik relaunched their app to include these other platforms and suddenly their growth was staggering. Within 2 weeks of their relaunch, they had 1 million users and to date they are up to 2.5 million users and still growing.
But, on November 19, just one month from their popular relaunch, RIM removes Kik from App World. To the dismay of the nearly 1 million Kik BlackBerry users and Kik team, RIM also shut down their "push" service to the app. Some thought that perhaps RIM did not like a cross platform IM app, like Kik, to compete with BlackBerry Messenger especially since it is quite similar in design and functionality. Ted, from Kik, recently wrote a blog stating his dismay and hopes that RIM will change their decision.While other platforms such as Android and iPhone remain unaffected, it certainly puts a stop to any further growth from the BlackBerry community. Did RIM intentionally stomp on Kik to snuff out any competition?
On the other hand, with Kiks unexpected growth, came a major privacy concern that the Kik team seemed to have overlooked. Evidentially it would automatically send alerts to any other contact in the user's address book who also had Kik that they were online. Some people were upset over this because they may not want everyone on their contact list to know they had the app, especially business contacts. The developers were made aware of the issue and quickly updated their app to address that concern. What is interesting is what Ted says in his blog, "And we have responded fully to any concerns they have raised. We know battery life and privacy could not be concerns, because we have completed an update that sips battery power and provides additional privacy controls, and have offered it to RIM."
While the developers of Kik have gone out of their way to address these issues, RIM still has not done anything as of yet to reinstate the popular software download for BlackBerry platforms. Are you, or were you, a Kik IM user? How does the app run now that "push" is no longer available? What do you think is the real issue behind RIMs decision to pull the app from BlackBerry App World?