) just opened up one of its most valuable assets, but
unfortunately, it might be past its relevance.
BlackBerry Messenger is now finally available on the
) Play Store for Android and for the
) iPhone. On the App Store, it already tops the list of most
popular iOS free apps as 5 million users downloaded the app in less
than eight hours. BBM was so popular that the early release is only
limited to those 6 million who signed up months in advanced.
Everyone else has to wait.
This situation brings to mind how
) Office used to be unavailable to Mac users. At that time, the big
reason for buying a Windows PC was because all of the software,
including the all-important Office, was only available for PCs.
Once Apple figured out how to get OSX to play nice with an
) chip, Office for the Mac was released, and it became harder to
say that you
Just a few short years ago, BBM was that killer app that brought
people to BlackBerry. Businesses liked the security, and everyone
else just seemed to be addicted to the CrackBerry messenger. It
owned instant messaging. Like the social networks that we sort of
hate but can't leave, the fact that your friends and co-workers
used it meant that you needed it.
This was before Google Hangouts, iMessage, FaceTime, Snapchat, Kik,
WhatsApp, and all of the other IM and mobile texting services were
a reality. Before there were options, BBM was the envy of everyone
else, just like Google Maps was to iPhone users for a while. If BBM
was available on multiple platforms, it could have obviated the
other messaging apps, and there would be a place for the
once-innovative Canadian company to survive as the way to message
on the go. But now, it might be too late. The playing field is
wider, and the first-mover advantage is gone.
The rollout onto other platforms was attempted a month ago, but as
says, 1 million Android users installed pirated versions of its
early app before the official release, causing backend problems
that forced the company to withdraw its iOS and Android apps.
says that the app is working fairly well, but sending attachments
is a bit wonky.
The question now is whether this will affect the company's attempts
to go private and stay alive. The initial $4.7 billion buyout offer
from Fairfax was only tentative, and it might not even get the
financing lined up. There are reports that China's
(OTCMKTS:LNVGY) has signed a non-disclosure agreement to buy the
company. Security analysts say that the US military sees the
BlackBerry as the only phone that the Chinese haven't hacked yet,
so US and Canadian officials will probably block a Lenovo
As for consumers? Now that BBM can no longer be used as the
justification for buying a BlackBerry handset, $1 billion of which
were just written down, potential buyers might be wondering what
they are really getting in Waterloo, Ontario.
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