BlackBerry will take its victories where it can get them these days, no matter how small they may be.
Today, the company announced a modest reprieve for users of its BlackBerry 10 and BBOS devices when it said it had reached a compromise to keep a web-based version of the Facebook app available on its platform. The news comes a week after Facebook announced it was killing support for its BlackBerry native app on March 31.
“Facebook will continue to support BlackBerry 10 and BBOS,” the company wrote in a blog post. “The experience will be slightly different, but you’ll still get the same Facebook features you love.”
In recent weeks, Facebook has been cutting back support for smaller mobile platforms, including BlackBerry. The company said it was ending WhatsApp support for BlackBerry later this year. And Facebook’s Instagram never did make it to BlackBerry.
But ending support for the Facebook native app was a bigger blow to BlackBerry. Facebook is simply one of the most popular, most-used apps for Apple’s iOS and Android. BlackBerry users could have accessed Facebook through the phone’s web browser, but it would be slow and cumbersome, one more big inconvenience for those clinging to their BlackBerry device. And it would certainly be a deterrent to those thinking about buying one.
Following Facebook’s announcement, BlackBerry vowed to fight back and tried to rally its users to a social media campaign with the hashtag #ILoveBB10Apps.
“We are extremely disappointed in their decision as we know so many users love these apps,” BlackBerry officials wrote in a blog post last week. “We fought back to work with WhatsApp and Facebook to change their minds, but at this time, their decision stands. Despite this, we have worked hard to ensure our end users have the best experience in light of this decision, and are continuing to search for alternate solutions.”
After discussions with Facebook, the social media giant agreed to create a web-based version of the app. While this is better than using Facebook in a browser, it should be noted that Facebook moved away from web-based apps four years ago because the performance was not as robust as on native apps. Indeed, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once called the company’s early focus on web-based apps one of his “biggest mistakes.”
Still, a web app is apparently better than no app. So BlackBerry is cheering the compromise and hoping its users won’t give up on its devices.
“Our fans are fighting for us, and we love their support,” the company wrote today. “That’s why we have worked hard with Facebook to address some technical challenges and the best solution was to move forward with a Web-based app.”