Mobile messaging giant Line has announced that it will discontinue its service on BlackBerry, Firefox OS, and Nokia Asha mobile platforms on July 3, 2017. Additionally, Line says that it’s killing its Windows 8 app too.
The news may not come as a huge surprise, given that BlackBerry itself is no longer a phone company and is all-but committed to releasing Android handsets through a licensing agreement, but it’s a timely reminder of Android and iOS’s proliferation in the mobile phone world.
Equally, Mozilla ceased Firefox OS development last year, while Microsoft killed off its feature phone-focused Asha platform after it snapped up Nokia’s mobile phone business in 2014.
A subsidiary of South Korea’s biggest web operator, Naver Corp, Line has grown to more than 220 million users through the popularity of its WhatsApp-style mobile messaging app, though it’s worth noting that the vast majority of those users are centralized in its four major markets — Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Indonesia. Nine months after its dual IPO, Line is now looking to refocus its efforts on the two dominant smartphone platforms, as well as the desktop.
From April 27, Line will no longer allow new accounts to be created on the aforementioned platforms, a move that will likely inconvenience few, but is surprising nonetheless given that it will be cutting off support entirely within two months of that date — so why allow anybody to create an account at all on those platforms for another two weeks?
Today’s news comes a little over a year after WhatsApp announced it was ceasing support for BlackBerry and other older operating systems, while PayPal too ditched its BlackBerry app. Facebook also gave in to BlackBerry’s begging by creating a web-based app shortly after killing its native app.
While a few people may be inconvenienced by the lack of support for niche or older operating systems, it makes little sense for companies to support such small user bases when they could be allocating their resources to platforms that people actually use en-masse.