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RIM guarantees $10,000 to BlackBerry 10 devs in first year

Research In Motion says it will cut a check for the difference, if a developer doesn't make at least $10,000 in sales in the first year with BlackBerry 10, The Verge reports.

BlackBerry World 2012
RIM CEO Thorsten Heins at BlackBerry World today.
Brian Bennett/CNET

Research In Motion is putting its money where its mouth is, when it comes to developers.

The company is guaranteeing that developers will generate at least $10,000 in sales of BlackBerry 10 apps in the first year -- or it will pay the difference, according to The Verge.

It's a risky -- and potentially costly -- bet that the company is reportedly making, as it attempts to stir up developer interest in the new platform. A lack of developer support has been a key weakness in the past, and RIM is looking to rectify the issue with BlackBerry 10.

RIM also wouldn't be the first to provide financial incentives to developers; Microsoft already does this for key partners of its Windows Phone platform. But the degree and specificity of its monetary guarantee is certainly shocking, underscoring just how much is riding on the new platform.

The financial incentive could draw in new and lesser-known developers already working on iOS or Android, or even developers seeking a new platform for which to write. A guarantee of $10,000 does a lot to assuage concerns that it takes too much effort or time to port an existing app over to BlackBerry 10.

There are, of course, a few catches. CrackBerry tweeted that there are terms and conditions that apply, and apps do have to meet some standard of quality.

CNET talked to Christopher Smith, vice president of application platform and tools for RIM, at BlackBerry World in Orlando, Fla., to get the details on the program. First, to qualify for the $10,000 guarantee, developers must first get their app approved and certified for the BlackBerry App World marketplace. And then if they make a minimum of $1,000 from downloads of their apps, RIM will guarantee those companies will make $10,000 within the first year the app is available.

If the developer doesn't reach $10,000 on its own, RIM will pay the company the difference, explained Smith. He said that based on the performance of its current apps in its store, RIM execs don't expect to be writing big checks to many developers.

"We can tell you from our experience that if someone has an app with a good business model, it won't be difficult for them to reach $10,000 in revenue the first year," Smith said. "The $10,000 guarantee program is more of a statement of confidence to our developers. We want them to see the value in investing in our platform. There is real money to be made here, unlike some of our competitors."

Updated 3:06 p.m. PT: This story has been updated with comments from a RIM executive about the $10,000 guarantee program for app developers.

CNET senior writer Marguerite Reardon contributed to this story.