BlackBerry Ltd has announced plans to bring BlackBerry Messaging or BBM to other platforms like Microsoft Corp’s Windows Phone. It also intends to make the service available to Nokia X when the platform is launched in the next few months.
BBM was made available to iOS and Android late last year. That move was warmly welcomed and was a success. It generated more users to the service. So far, it is estimated that availability of the service on BlackBerry, iOS, and Android devices made the number of BBM users to surge to over 80 million.
BBM as a messaging service
BBM is a unique messaging platform offering collaboration tools like BBM Voice, BBM groups, and BBM Channels. The service also competes with other messaging services like WhatsApp, the popular messaging app that Facebook acquired just last week for a whopping $19 billion.
It can be recalled that BBM was a pioneer and was a leader in mobile messaging service in the past several years. However, its user base started to fail in keeping pace with competition when BlackBerry devices started to lose popularity. Many analysts now blame the company for refusing then to immediately open the service to other users in other platforms.
Now that BBM is available in major operating systems, some skeptics assert that it would take too much for the service to cope and keep pace with the intense competition. For a start, in terms of volume of users, BBM would still take a long way before it even matches the popularity of WhatsApp, which currently has a user base of around 450 million users.
Shift in strategy
The arrival of BBM on Windows Phone and the new Nokia X platforms would signify BlackBerry’s intention to make the service available to more users worldwide. In the two new systems, BBM would still be offered as a free download. In Windows Phone, it would start appearing on the app store this summer. As mentioned, it would be immediately available in Nokia X when the platform rolls out soon.
This also signifies the shift in strategies of some technology companies. BlackBerry used to think that BBM would be an exclusive value added service that would make its devices more in demand and interesting. Now, the company has realized that the market does not work that way. Mobile services should be made available to more possible users to make it more significant.