BlackBerry Messenger for iOS stuck in Apple's app review process for 2 weeks

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BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) submitted to Apple its cross-platform Messenger chat application for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS more than two weeks ago and still has not received approval from App Store reviewers, 9to5Mac reports.

"Just in case we forgot to mention, BBM for iPhone was submitted for review 2 wks ago," BlackBerry senior public relations and social media manager Alex Kinsella tweeted Friday afternoon, adding "#waiting #BBM4ALL."

According to Apple's latest App Review Status report, published August 30, 99 percent of all new iOS app submissions are reviewed within five business days. Apple has not disclosed why BlackBerry Messenger for iOS remains stuck in approval limbo.

BlackBerry first confirmed plans to port the popular Messenger service to iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android in May, promising to launch sometime this summer. The cross-platform BBM will enable users to interact across multiple mobile operating systems and will include core features like one-on-one and multi-person text chats, voice and video chats, voice note sharing and BlackBerry Groups, which enables as many as 30 BBM users to share calendars, photos, files and additional content. The iOS and Android app also will support BBM Channels, a new social engagement platform within Messenger allowing customers to connect with businesses, brands, celebrities and groups.

Sources told 9to5Mac that BlackBerry Messenger for iOS is virtually identical to the native BBM app optimized for the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone, but lacks a handful of unspecified features. The current status of BBM for Android is unknown: "The service is coming to Android this summer," Sunil Lalvani, managing director for BlackBerry India, told IBN Live in July. "But summer as per North America, where it remains till September."

BlackBerry is opening Messenger to users on competing operating systems in an effort to rekindle consumer interest in its brand and combat a new generation of over-the-top messaging services like WhatsApp, Kik Messenger and Viber. BlackBerry also has revealed it is in negotiations with competing manufacturers to offer BBM as a preinstalled application on their phones.

Late last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that BlackBerry is mulling a plan to spin off BBM as a standalone unit. Sources said the subsidiary would be called BBM Inc., adding that BlackBerry is already transitioning executives to the BBM team and assigning engineers to expand the service beyond messaging. "We have announced our plans to offer this trusted mobile messaging service to iPhone and Android users sometime this summer," a BlackBerry spokesperson said. "We have made no further announcements."

The BBM Inc. spinoff plan signals that BlackBerry is attempting to position Messenger as a vital asset ahead of a possible sale of the whole company. Last month, BlackBerry said its board of directors has formed a special committee to explore its strategic alternatives.

For more:
- read this 9to5Mac article

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BlackBerry exploring 'strategic alternatives' including sale
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Report: BlackBerry Messenger for Android coming by late September
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BlackBerry Messenger apps coming to iOS, Android this summer

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