Research In Motion reportedly axed BlackBerry Messenger for iOS and Android

Research In Motion reportedly axed BlackBerry Messenger for iOS and Android

Rumors of Reseach In Motion's iconic BlackBerry Messenger app wriggling its way over to iPhone may be coming to an end. Anonymous sources have claimed that new CEO Thorsten Heins shut down the idea of licensing BlackBerry Messenger to carriers and manufacturers as soon as he stepped in, and was actually against RIM doing any kind of licensing at all. Apparently the issue was "not up for discussion", according to the source. It's unfortunate that he made that call early on, considering he openly admitted to looking into licensing deals during the last quarterly conference call. Ex co-CEO Jim Balsillie was previously rumored to champion BBM on other platforms, a project which new sources claimed was called SMS 2.0 internally. They had even acquired a small company called LiveProfile to work on it.

Now, we already know that iMessage and BBM are pretty comparable, and there are plenty of cross-platform instant messaging apps available, so it's really unclear what problem BlackBerry Messenger can really fix. Adoption is still pretty high according to RIM, but unless they can stem their dwindling smartphone market share, it's not going to count for much.

Right now, RIM's survival hinges on BlackBerry 10, but I somehow doubt they're going to be doing anything mind-blowing with BBM when it comes out in the fall. Would BBM on iOS have helped save RIM at all, or is the market saturated with instant messengers as is and Heins was smart to save on development costs? Keep in mind that most of RIM's revenue is from devices these days, though they may need to pivot towards services if things keep going the way they are. Do you still have friends that use BBM, and if so, how much would you be willing to pay to keep in touch with them? How do you do most of your instant messaging?

Source: WSJ

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Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

Research In Motion reportedly axed BlackBerry Messenger for iOS and Android


While iOS may have the app advantage - anyone who has ever used BBM and iMessage knows the great functionality of BBM. Switched from BB to iPhone and love the phone - but there is no comparison with the messaging. BBM > iMessage

Yup only reason I want to go back to Blackberry. Unless you've used it for more than a month, you have no idea how much you'll crave it after you switch platforms. I've been using it for 3 years straight and I know how it feels to live without bbm. Switched to an iPhone 4 two months ago and Im already having a strong craving for bbm

AND thats why RIM is where it is in the line up.....
They could have made a KILLING of BBM going beyond RIM devices....BBM is what kept allot of BB followers following....
You have people that want to like you but you are making it that much harder....

The thing is, RIM sells devices solely because of BBM. Even if they sold a lot of apps (or even subscriptions) it wouldn't come close to the loss of device sales.

Good call on RIM's end. Licensing would have done it no good, as there are too many free alternatives to BBM. Although I strongly disagree that iMessage is comparable to BBM. BBM is a IM to the fullest, where iMessage is just a gimmic on an SMS, nothing more. I have an iPhone but I give BB credit where it is deserved and there is no other app/IM out there that compares to BBM. The only way I'd use BBM on my iPhone if it was a free service, which will never happen as I already talk to BB friends through texting, WhatsApp, and even FB messages.
Also, maybe in te US market RIM is struggling but in all the world market BB devices are growing more and more every month. I see more blackberries on people than iPhones here in Canada and its to my understanding that every month that a BBM user pays his bill, $5 goes straight to RIM. That's residual income that iMessage does not bring.

Two years ago this was a pretty relevant potential app. iOS 5 reduced it's worth, as iOS users, including all those corporate iPad users, had iMessage. Today? As BB marketshare continues to drop, as Bring Your Own Device continues to grow, and as iPhone adoption in corporate continues to climb, BBM has really become less needed. Of my primary contacts, exactly 1 still uses a BB, and that is only because it is work issued. This same person has an iPhone for personal use, but when her corporate contract is up later this year? She'll be getting a company issued iPhone...

"as Bring Your Own Device continues to grow"
You will see this trend reverse as IT becomes overloaded with the sheer stupidity of their employee's. Read an article the other day about IBM and how their CIO is kicking herself in the arse for going to BYOD.

For me the question of whether or not it will have been worth it to release BBM for iOS or android is a no brainier. Imessage sucks. You cant tell if a message has been read unless the person opts to turn on read receipts, and most people don't even consider doing that. It's also tied into the SMS app, whereas blackberry keeps SMS and BBM as two distinct systems (which was frequently helpful during my years as a blackberry user). As for the BBM-like apps...use them extensively enough and you soon find out that they are not BBM competitors in the least. Not as reliable. Quirky and temperamental. Not tied into the OS. Whatsapp could never compete with BBM in its wildest dreams and it's arguably the best BBM alternative out there. Then factor in things like security and versatility and bbm continues to outshine everything else. iMessage is a toy by comparison. So I say bring on the BBM. I'll be all over it like a fat kid in a candy store.