BlackBerry to Support Amazon Appstore on Upcoming OS

BlackBerry 10.3 will let users enjoy not only BlackBerry World's 130,000 apps but Amazon's 240,000 Android apps. CEO Chen calls the move a double win. 

BlackBerry 10.3

BlackBerry will make Amazon Appstore apps available on BlackBerry devices running the 10.3 operating system it will introduce this fall, it announced June 18, hours ahead of Amazon's own major announcement.

BlackBerry World currently offers approximately 130,000 apps, while the Amazon Appstore offers 240,000 Android applications, including Netflix, Pinterest, Groupon and other popular favorites that BlackBerry users have been missing.

BlackBerry CEO John Chen said the deal accomplishes two things—it answers users' calls for more apps, and it allows the company and its developers to remain focused on core BlackBerry areas of productivity and security.

"We've listened to our customers and have taken this important step to deliver on their needs, while executing on our strategy," Chen said in a statement.

Further, on July 31, it will close the music and video sections in BlackBerry World (areas where Amazon's Appstore excels). All content downloaded before then will remain available.

While BlackBerry will otherwise keep its BlackBerry World open, it announced that, with Amazon, it will work with the BlackBerry application developer community to help them migrate their apps to the Amazon Appstore in preparation of 10.3's launch. This will allow them to "benefit from the store's powerful promotional tools that enable maximum discoverability and profitability," BlackBerry said.

BlackBerry's developers will also have access to Amazon's Developer Select program, as well as Amazon Coins incentives and Amazon's Developer Promotions Console.

"BlackBerry will unveil a new enterprise application partner program for corporate developers, ISVs and systems integrators, designed to expand the number of enterprise applications that leverage BlackBerry 10 to deliver business-class functionality," BlackBerry added, "and enhance users' productivity, communication and collaboration."

BlackBerry's Turnaround

The Amazon announcement comes a day ahead of BlackBerry's fiscal 2015 first-quarter announcement.

Chen took over a falling-down company with a for-sale sign on the door. The sign came down and Chen has tidied up his house, eliminating all unnecessary efforts and expenses; signing a deal with manufacturing partner Foxconn that hands off its device inventory stresses, along with the logistics of its supply chains; furthering BlackBerry's support for mixed-platform deployments; and developing a new flagship smartphone meant to appeal to its core user base.

During its fiscal 2014 fourth quarter, the company posted a loss of $423 million. Revenue was $976 million, down from $1.2 billion the quarter before, but BlackBerry's operating expenses were also down, by 51 percent since the first quarter of that year.

Chen has said he expects he can turn a profit by fiscal 2016.

On the BlackBerry Blog, response to the Amazon news was largely positive.

"More apps will bring more people … and more people on BB10 OS will bring more audience so more 'native' apps will come … It really is a smart move," wrote a commenter using the handle felberry83, in response to another who worried about protecting native developers.

"As long as BlackBerry continues to push BB10 apps and supports BB10 developers as [its] primary focus, then this will be a good supplement," added commenter lillyfoxblogs. "Hint: now would be a good time to reassure BB10 developers!"

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