One More Thing (on April Fools’ Day)

04.01.12 119 Comments

[NOTE: From the name-calling and angry comments, it’s clear we offended some BlackBerry users, and I wanted to clarify a few things: 1) we were poking fun at the company (which seems to have lost its way), not the users. 2) We’ve discussed BlackBerry as a Plex platform, and looked into getting our Android app into the App World, but there were issues (the PlayBook version of Android was too old to support the video features we need, and the custom video solution we use for Android 2.x doesn’t work on the PlayBook). 3) I’m personally sorry I offended anyone. This was an April Fools’ post, and not intended to be taken seriously! Please check your pitchforks and Torches at the door.]

It’s been a big week for us here at Plex. We released a killer update of the Plex for Roku client, which is now officially in the Roku Channel Store. We released a massive update of the Plex Media Server, with DLNA and Windows Phone support. And we released a beautiful new client for the Windows Phone. Not bad, right?

We wanted to bring you equally big news on the business front. This may come as a surprise to many of you, but we’ve been talking to a number of companies over the past year, and have rejected quite a few otherwise generous acquisition offers, simply because we didn’t feel like they were good fits. (At one point we were entertaining an offer from a certain Cupertino company, but in all honesty I was left entirely unimpressed with the cafeteria food.)

A few months ago, however, we found a company which shared our passion, our ethos, our philosophy. The company was looking to revitalize their brand, and was lacking a cohesive media story for their devices. One thing led to another, and now that the ink is dry on the paperwork, I’m incredibly proud to be able to share the news with you: We have been acquired by RIM.

Think about it for a moment: they have a great line of phones, a killer tablet, a magnificent sense of design (have you let your thumbs run over a BlackBerry keyboard lately?), and an incredible vision for the future. And have you heard the new CEO speak? When he says “What I’m really good at is inspiring teams” he means it! I’m inspired!

So what does this new direction imply for our current users? Most of you probably already own a BlackBerry device (who doesn’t?) so you shouldn’t notice much a difference at all. The iOS, Android, and Window Phone clients will get updates which redirect you on launch to the RIM homepage, and our new BlackBerry/PlayBook client (we’re calling it “PlexBerry” which I think you’ll agree has a nice ring) will be available for download in the next 24 hours. Since RIM’s focus for the week is on corporate customers, we’re including a new “boss key” feature in Plex which will quickly overlay an Excel spreadsheet over any video you’re watching.

We want to thank you all so much for your support over the past years! I will of course continue working on Plex for RIM devices, reporting directly to Thorsten (now that he’s cleaned house – about time!).

[Before taking this too seriously, check the date on the article.]

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  • What regrettable foolishness…
    Had someone “had a few” before sitting down at the keyboard?
    That’s often the way this sort of thing happens. “Seemed like a great idea at the time!”
    You’d be wise to go ahead and port the program for Blackberry now. In fact, that’d not only be the least you should do – it’d be a smart business move.

  • Welcome to my never buy list. But I’ll be sure to tell everyone I know how much the Plex app sucks and that it’s not worth $0.99, never mind $5.

  • @elan,

    I give you props for posting many of the recent submitted comments, including my own. Many thought that they would simply be ignored, glad to see you have thick skin ;^)

    From what I understand, the conversion to playbook bar can be a very easy process (I did read your concern about video playback above). Perhaps something constructive can come out of this, perhaps you or someone at Plex can take another look at a playbook port?


    • @Troy: I too hope something constructive can come of this :) Some people have tried to “sideload” the APK and apparently have run into issues with video playback. A BB dev relations guy reached out to us, so we’ll discuss with them, as that would be – by far – the easiest route to getting Plex on the PlayBook.

  • I had never heard of Plex til this brou-ha-ha. I just checked the latest reviews on the iTunes App store and they dont seem to be too complimentary?? Maybe just some bugs that need to be worked out.

    Anyway, as you can see, the BB fans are passionate about their platform. This is a great potential revenue “stream” for Plex. Hopefully, RIM will put a PlayBook in your hands so you can see its potential. :)

  • I think it’s funny that a company that doesn’t know the ins and outs of having stock holders is cracking jokes… Go public once and see how fast you get eaten alive!

  • If it’s so much a problem for you to port your android app to blackberry, why not just make a native app.

  • Tbh, I dont know if anything constructive should come of this. Clearly Plex is already on the shatlist of many Playbook owners who read this (and that would be the majority of the people who have heard of Plex in the Playbook community if we are being honest… I had no idea what it was before today). So the problem is if something “constructive” comes from this, people wont support it, and then a few months down the road Plex will be blogging about how they’ve only sold “x” number of copies and it’s a dead end platform… Is that the press PB users want?

    I say praise others who join the app world (native or android) and forget about Plex completely. I get that it was intended as a joke… But judging by Elan’s note at the start of the article, he still doesn’t actually understand what is wrong with his post and why he got a negative reaction even though “it was a hilaaaaarious joke”. I think it shows Plex’s view on Blackberry/Playbook.

    Long story short, certain users wont support Plex even if they did come to the app world. So just leave it at that. Plex developing for PB and then saying bad things as a dev with “PB experience” is worst case scenario here.
    Just my 2 cents

  • RE: Updates, what a bunch of BS. I thought software developers had to be good problem solvers. Stop your excuses and make it work! Heck, RIM has been holding hackathons left and right with developers to help them iron out issues.Send Alec Saunders a tweet, or email. Google the guy, he’s not hard to find and is bound to get you the tools you need to make your video player work. There is a native SDK out, maybe a port would be easier than a repackage. I got my hand on my wallet, its up to you if you want my money.

  • Kicking a company when its down is a low blow. Save the bullying ways for the 2 cent media and bloggers. There is no reason why a Plex should find it upone themselves to make a joke on others. Sarcasm is the lowest form of humor. Take a lesson from Google. 8 bit google maps was a brilliant April fools joke! No need to put someone down.

  • @elan – I understand your frustration with the overreaction from a visitor to your blog such as myself and I apologize for calling for action against you. That doesn’t excuse your behaviour and I do appreciate the apology that you added to the post upon the backlash. In the future, please be aware that when you are conducting business, that you act professionally and with courtesy. I stand by my statement earlier that your original post was distasteful and condescending to the millions of blackberry users and thousands of RIM employees who work day and night on putting a product out much like yourself.

  • Sorry to hear you have issues getting your app on the QNX platform, but QNX (BB10) platform supports like dozen or so platforms, not just the android player… flash, html5, QT, and native C are just some of the common stuff. I love my blackberry and I will not switch by device… So I guess I’m SOL, but then that make you SOL too.

  • wow….tacky. Was thinking about using plex software in my solution to my home theatre but obviously i know whats behind it. I will let you moderate this and get back to being iSheep. Go ahead…..get back to your lackluster tablet and overhyped phone. Enjoy being bent over tablet and taking it from Apple!

  • Wow. Is the lack of a sense of humor a prerequisite for buying a blackberry?

    It was a harmless joke, and pretty funny.

    RIM deserves to be made fun. It was their complacency that they let other companies (that had never made phones before) waltz in and embarrass them.

    And honestly “Outside of the Excited States, everyone still loves and is rooting for BlackBerry.” is a little bit of an exaggeration… just a little…:)

  • Looks like you build some neat software. Too bad it won’t run on my playbook. Maybe when the BB10 phones come out later this year you will reconsider supporting the platform.

  • Plex is a nice product but far from having 77 million active customers paying monthly fees and generating 20 billion of revenues. Not counting PlayBooks as I believe a bit less than 2 million active devices is not enough to get your interest.
    It was an easy move to punch RIM while they are down.
    Not as easy as it was for me to stop using your product on all my devices though.
    Continue like this and your fall will be much faster than RIM’s.

  • Ok. So this whole thing was by my design and I’m very happy with the progress that I hope is unfolding.

    [*SNIP*…rehash of how offended Chris was by the post]

    So, back to business. Plex is an AMAZING APP. I’m not going to abandon it just because the person running this blog had poor taste at the time. For all I know he’s a cool guy who usually doesn’t act like this.

    I want Plex on my Playbook. I’ll BUY it when it’s out. I just want to see Plex and the RIM team work together to get it done.

    The native dev kit that RIM has is amazing. This can get done! I know you’re resource strapped, but that shouldn’t stop you.

    Price the app at $5 and you’ll get a LOT of customers on BlackBerry products. Playbook today and BB10 in the next year. Be the best damn home streaming solution that the RIM platform has. Everyone will buy this app. Millions of people.

    Will that justify the resources? I think it will. Make it happen. We’re all hoping you will. We’ll forgive the poor joke :)

    • @Chris: To paraphrase “I was one who sent all those people over to be offensive to Plex, its developers, and its user-base. But really, I only did this because I want Plex on the BlackBerry.”

      Next time, call or write :)

  • Reconsider a native playbook/BB10 app. I’d pay $10 or more to help cover costs. It’s one of the only things I really miss on the playbook…

  • Jeez, it was a joke, it appears the loyal hord of Blackberry losers, I mean users signed over their sense of humour upon purchase. Really get a life…

  • WOW,notice how the comments were all fun and games until Chris Umiastowski showed up. This guy blogged/whined about the lack of class shown by Plex for insulting blackberry – and ironically insults the nook color in the same sentiment – so no class AND a hypocrite?) and a bunch of fanboys and his followers came to bash and cry over it. Are you kidding me? All these ridiculous comments about how these 77 millions subscribers (maybe, but not smart phones owners with its current (AND STILL DROPPING 15% market share) are all offended and bringing the storm. I’m not dissing RIM, that is just the state its in. Hopefully, RIM can come back from the severe damage this article caused. Most of he people complaining here don’t even know about plex. RIDICULOUS

  • Oh and if you want to read the same people’s ranting or from the RIM evangelist himself in more detail go to crackberry’s article of mean plex joke: (not sure links get shown…).

  • I think the BB users need to all calm down and realize it was just a harmless April Fool’s prank. Stop being so sensitive! Keep up the good work Plex team. I look forward to the next update.

  • I agree, a harmless funny joke. Blackberry users are a sad bunch of folks that is for sure. RIM needs to be kicked while they are down, the majority of the users are corporate users who’s IT department know BES and are too afraid to move to anything else. Times are a changing though and I do not see RIM surviving another 5 years if they do not re-invent the wheel.

    The majority of the people posting negative comments here are just doing it because of the calling of arms by crackberry.

  • The RIMjobbers that keep posting here need to get over it. “I love a good April fools joke as much as the next guy, but this is too much!” Waaaaaaahh. . . . grow up people. It was a joke. Think about how insane it is that your feelings are getting hurt over someone joking about a piece of electronic equipment you bought. I mean really??…

  • I am the same poster (Oliver) as above. See how easy it is to seem like I am 2 people! I too think blackberry users are thin skinned. That makes 2 :)