Rest easy BB10 devs, BlackBerry says it will honour $10,000 app payouts

Rest easy BB10 devs, BlackBerry says it will honour $10,000 app payouts

Summary: Would BlackBerry really risk upsetting its remaining developers?

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Developers who took part in BlackBerry's cash-for-apps rally, the 10K Developer Commitment, claim to have caught BlackBerry trying to wriggle out of paying them. However, BlackBerry told ZDNet it will honour its original offer.

Would BlackBerry really shaft developers that stuck with the platform during its darkest hours? It appeared so, according to some developers, who say it changed key dates for the programme, which would have left them ineligible for payments they were initially due.

BlackBerry kicked off 10K Developer Commitment in late 2012 ahead of the BB10 launch, to ensure the OS was compatible with a whole host of apps. The $10m programme guaranteed developers they would earn $10,000 — for each app that earned at least $1,000 independently over the course of a year, BlackBerry offered to make up the difference between the amount it earned and the $10,000 price tag.

The programme has come into focus now because it ended on March 4, which could mean payday for developers who had met the three criteria BlackBerry laid down for apps to be eligible.

First, the BB 0 app needed to be submitted to BlackBerry World by January 21 last year. Second, it needed to be approved and on sale by March 4; any revenues from that date would then count towards qualification for the $10,000 incentive payment. And, finally, it needed to have received 'Built for BlackBerry' (BFB) approval by March 4, 2014 — the "Sale Period End Date" on which the incentive programme wound down.

However, some developers claim BlackBerry has reneged on its promise, and that it even went so far as to change (via a blog post) the Sale Period End Date from March 4, 2014 to March 4, 2013. The Next Web has screenshots of the old and new posts, which would have given the programme an odd sale period of just one day; hardly enough time to rack up $1,000 in app sales.

However, today the same blog has been reversed back to listing a Sale Period End Date of March 4, 2014. At least that's now consistent with a new blogpost from this week announced the programme's closure, which states: "The period to have your app Built for BlackBerry approved in order to qualify for the 10k payout closed March 4, 2014."

So was it just a mistake or a poor attempt at wriggling out of paying developers?

In a statement to ZDNet, BlackBerry claimed it was the latter, saying it was "an incorrect date reference", and promised to honour eligible submissions outlined in the official terms and conditions or the "original blog post".

"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. We corrected the blog post to accurately reflect the official program dates. We are honouring 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," the statement said.

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Topics: BlackBerry, Apps, Software Development

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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2 comments
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  • Go Figure

    For developers its all about the money and incentives. Blackberry has little of both. iOS and Android were early and don't need incentive programs. Windows Phone has been getting good apps lately because Microsoft has way better incentives, free registration, free seminars and experts to help you. Microsoft even gave a 1000 Samsung Series 7 Win 8 tablets last year. This year there are giving away xBox, phones, prize money, and it seems to be working.
    Sean Foley
    • Not to mention how difficult it is to develope for blackberry

      I've tried making an app for a blackberry playbook before and it took me basically an entire day just to get it to run a template. Meanwhile I'm making apps for Windows phone with great success. It took me 2 hours to get an app on Windows phone and it took a day to make an app that was useful.
      Brock Jones