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BlackBerry leak pulls the plug on messenger roll-out on iOS and Android

The Canadian smartphone maker has also announced 4,500 job losses mainly due to poor sales of its latest device, the Z10.

Smartphone maker BlackBerry has had to hold up the global roll out of its popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) instant chat software on the iOS 7 and Android operating systems after an unofficial version of the app was leaked online this weekend.

As the company geared up to make the app available for the first time on the other smartphone operating systems, an unauthorised version of the Android app was posted online and downloaded by curious Android users 1.1 million times in just 8 hours.

This leak caused the Canadian company a number of issues that it had to spend most of Saturday trying to resolve.

Due the leak, the rollout of the iOS 7 version of the software, which has so far only been released in New Zealand, has had to be paused.

An official statement on BlackBerry’s website reads, “Prior to launching BBM for Android, an unreleased version of the BBM for Android app was posted online. The interest and enthusiasm we have seen already – more than 1.1 million active users in the first 8 hours without even launching the official Android app – is incredible. Consequently, this unreleased version caused issues, which we have attempted to address throughout the day.

“Our teams continue to work around the clock to bring BBM to Android and iPhone, but only when it's ready and we know it will live up to your expectations of BBM. We are pausing the global roll-out of BBM for Android and iPhone. Customers who have already downloaded BBM for iPhone will be able to continue to use BBM. The unreleased Android app will be disabled, and customers who downloaded it should visit www.BBM.com to register for updates on official BBM for Android availability.”

The incident is the latest piece of bad news for the ailing smartphone maker.

On Friday the company, once a pioneer in the smart phone field, announced plans to cut 4,500 jobs, around 40 percent of its global workforce following poor financial performance.

In the same statement the company said it anticipated losses of around £621 million ($995 million) when it releases its second-quarter earnings report next week.

BlackBerry’s chief executive Thorsten Heins said on Friday, “We are implementing the difficult, but necessary operational changes announced today to address our position in a maturing and more competitive industry, and to drive the company toward profitability.“

”Going forward, we plan to refocus our offering on our end-to-end solution of hardware, software and services for enterprises and the productive, professional end user.“

The firm’s losses were mainly blamed on the poor sales of its latest Z10 model device.

In June Mr Heins announced that the company had shipped only 2.7 million Z10 units out of a total of 6.8 million since the phone’s unveiling in January. By contrast, Apple comfortable exceeded this figure with sales of its new iPhone models this weekend alone.