BlackBerry: Sorry for $10K Developer Commitment Confusion

BlackBerry apologizes for confusion, saying it will make good on $10,000 Developer Commitment promises.

BlackBerry is assuring developers that it will make good on its $10k Developer Commitment. After BlackBerry recently updated a post on its developer blog, intending to "add clarity" to a situation, it instead "caused unnecessary confusion" among developers, the company told eWEEK. "Our apologies for the confusion."

Developers read the updated post as BlackBerry trying to wriggle out of its $10,000 commitment.

BlackBerry issued the statement, "On March 4, 2014, the BlackBerry $10k Developer Commitment program came to an end. At that time, it came to our attention that there were discrepancies between the original terms and conditions and a related blog post originally published on March 2, 2013."

It continued, "We corrected the blog post to accurately reflect the official program dates. We are honoring all eligible submissions received by the deadline as outlined in the official terms and conditions, or the original blog post. We can assure you that nobody who qualified will be missing out."

BlackBerry launched the offer on Sept. 25, 2012, effectively promising developers of successful apps a profit of at least $10,000. To qualify, developers had to create a BlackBerry 10 app and submit it to BlackBerry World by Jan. 21, 2013. If, over the 12 months of the offer period, the app earned more than $1,000 but less than $10,000, BlackBerry would make up the difference. If an app earned $3,000, say, BlackBerry would pay the developer $7,000 at the end of the year’s time.

The qualifying period for the offer began March 4, 2013 and ended March 3; to qualify for the offer, a developer must have received Built for BlackBerry approval before Monday, March 3.

Part of the problem came when, while updating the blog post, the offer’s closing date was changed from 2014 to 2013.

"BlackBerry—are you kidding us? Please don't play such games," a developer using the handle daNail wrote on a support forum thread. "You know how important it is for a platform to have [a] variety of applications. We invested so much time and effort to learn the new ecosystem and build the apps you needed! And you try to change the conditions after the fact?"

Another developer, using the handle nonesuchnick, followed, "This makes me sick. I really believed BlackBerry was committed to their Developers, and I've been giving them the benefit of the doubt this whole time, hoping they would do the right thing and honour their word."

BlackBerry, over the last few years, has had an intense relationship with developers.

The company had twice delayed the introduction of BB10, a brand new OS that it was banking on to reverse the company's fortunes and again make it a market leader. Again and again, BlackBerry begged and encouraged and incentivized developers to stick with it.

When BlackBerry introduced BB10 and the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone Jan. 30, 2013, it had 70,000 BB10 apps in its store and made a promise to increase that figure to 100,000 by the time the phone went on sale.

BlackBerry hosted Jam sessions around the world, answering questions and encouraging developers, as well as 36-hour, all-nighter Port-A-Thon parties. All of it was in the interest of growing its app catalog and its ecosystem—a key factor, it knew, in whether BB10 would sink or swim.

After BlackBerry released its statement March 7, some developers on the thread seemed consoled.

"I just got an update from BlackBerry," wrote a contributor with the handle Berryreview. "Glad to see they are doing the right thing from what I can tell."

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