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Facebook, WhatsApp farewell BlackBerry

Social networks decide one per cent market share isn't worthy of native app support

The writing probably appeared on the wall when WhatsApp announced its disinterest in BlackBerry APIs: Facebook has followed the lead of its subsidiary, and dumped native support for the ailing smartphone-maker.

WhatsApp led the way earlier this month, putting the BlackBerry platforms in the same bucket as Nokia's S40 and Symbian, Android 2.1 and 2.2, and Windows Phone 7.1 and taking them to the bin. WhatsApp support for BlackBerry will be discontinued at the end of 2016.

“While these mobile devices have been an important part of our story, they don't offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app's features in the future”, the messaging app's post says.

Now, Facebook has followed suit, and that's incensed BlackBerry, since without Facebook there's even less reason to buy its products.

In spite of holding less than one per cent of smartphone market share in 2015 (according to Gartner, which lumped the company's products in the one per cent “other” category last year; Comscore was kinder, giving it 1.2 per cent), BlackBerry reckons it still warrants API support.

Describing itself as “extremely disappointed” because users want those apps, BlackBerry says it “fought back to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to change their minds”.

The company had a shot at launching a hashtag campaign under “#IloveBB10Apps”, but right now Twitter's search suggests that a mere handful of BlackBerry owners went along with it.

Screenshot

#ILoveBB10Apps: not even Twitter's ad algorithm agrees

While the company explores alternatives, users will be stuck with using Facebook over the Web browser instead. WhatsApp users kicked off a petition to try and save their app on their smartphones, but it's yet to pass the 2,000-mark. ®

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