BlackBerry Limited, the company that manages BlackBerry brand licensing and software, today began informing some app developers that it will forcibly remove paid software from the BlackBerry World app store on April 1st. BlackBerry says the marketplace will become a “free-only storefront,” and that “all purchasing mechanisms will be disabled.”
Apps can still be monetized, the company says, but payment backends must be supported by the developer and built into the app itself. Refunds for paid content will be supported until April 30th, 2018, the note confirms, and customers will retain access to paid content even after it is removed. If a developer chooses not to transition an app from paid to free, the company will remove it by March 31st.
Effectively, BlackBerry is announcing the end of BlackBerry World here, as developer Steve Troughton-Smith notes on Twitter, where he posted the notice from the company and called it the final “nail in the coffin” for BB10, BlackBerry Limited’s final custom mobile operating system before it transitioned to Android in 2015.
Back in December of last year, BlackBerry promised at least two more years of BB10 support, with BlackBerry World slated to close down officially on December 31st, 2019. When reached for comment, a BlackBerry representative pointed The Verge to a blog post from December in which the company states, “Customers who upgrade to a new KeyOne or Motion won’t miss a beat as they’ll have immediate access to the rich universe of apps in the Google Play store without compromising on either security or their desire for a physical keyboard.”