Report: BlackBerry May Jettison Successful Messaging Service
August 27, 2013 6:33 PM
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Is this the beginning of the end for the smartphone marker formerly known as RIM?
The Wall Street Journal
that even as struggling Canadian phonemaker BlackBerry Ltd. (
) creeps ever closer to death, the company is reportedly looking to strengthen and spin off one of its few products that remains popular.
With BlackBerry sales
hitting fresh lows
and BlackBerry's OS overhaul experiment being
greeted by customer apathy
, BlackBerry executives are reportedly pondering spinning off
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM)
, -- the company's instant messaging service.
Eight years after the service's 2005 launch
, BBM has evolved to sport a visual appealing messaging UI and secure communication based on the service's tried-and-true PIN messaging underpinnings. BBM has around 60 million customers at last count.
In May BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins --
under pressure to resign
-- signaled a change announcing the coming availability of BBM for Google Inc.'s (
) Android and Apple, Inc.'s (
). The apps have been floating around both in an HTML5 based browser demo and a full-blown beta test form since the June, and rumor has it that Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (
) will be the first Android phonemaker to bundle the popular messaging client into its devices.
BBM may be jumping off the BB wreck. [Image Source: Forrester.com]
In his May announcement, Mr. Heins remarked, "We will make BBM available as the premiere multi-platform IM solution all around the globe. Why are we doing this now? It’s a statement of confidence. The BlackBerry 10 platform is so strong and support has been so good that the time is right for BBM to become an independent messaging solution."
In retrospect the latter sentence and emphasis on BBM becoming "independent" may have hinted that rather than a bold -- and much needed -- survivalist transition to a service provider, BlackBerry was instead merely looking to prepare the escape pod for BBM.
report claims that BlackBerry has shuffled some executives into the BBM team to enhance its management capabilities, and is adding video chat features to BBM to further enhance its cross platform appeal.
If indeed BB jettisons the successful unit, it will mark yet another fateful loss in the company's
to continue as a smartphone operating system developer, a campaign that pits BB against deep pocket rivals like Apple, Google, and Microsoft Corp. (
Parts of BlackBerry may live on in Android and other platforms.
[Image Source: Despuesdegoogle]
The company's Board of Directors earlier this month announced
it was pursuing "strategic alternatives"
. That could involve a sale or a breakup of the company's business units. Outside of BBM, BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) is another part of BB that still is clinging to a strong chunk of business, even if it's less than beloved at times by enterprise clientele. Outside of that, BB's primary value appears to be confined to its intellectual property portfolio (which it's
already partially sold off
) and its manufacturing expertise surrounding its industry-leading physical smartphone keyboards.
If BB does split up its unlikely that BB10's software or devices will survive. While BB10 is in many ways an impressive mobile operating system, it fails to regain ground against Apple and Google's mature efforts. It even was recently passed by Microsoft's Windows Phone.
Customers appear to have more or less decided that BB10 is worthless amidst superior competitive offerings; likewise potential buyers will likely do the same as they look to scavenge the treasures amidst the BB scrap pile.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Unfortunate downward spiral
8/28/2013 1:13:21 PM
Just curious - can you tell us what those reasons are for the user? I used to be into BB, but have found no reason from a user perspective to want to use it.
I understand from the enterprise being able to lock them down more and do so more easily, but that is not a good thing for user perspective.
RE: Unfortunate downward spiral
8/28/2013 8:59:12 PM
I read this blog from time to time, and the author is both a BB10 fan and a techie (he also has some rather strong political views, and does a lot of general economic commentary, but those aren't relevant to this issue). Here are some of his posts covering various either uniquely BB10 or otherwise nice features (including some of his personal discoveries/experiences) -- in chronological order from earliest to latest:
RE: Unfortunate downward spiral
8/29/2013 10:25:38 AM
Great question! I will give you a "few" examples without trying to be too wordy.
; one gesture to all my emails, tests, BBM, Facebook, Twitter, etc in ONE location. Also within the hub I can view each of these separably. Yes I can choose what I want and don't want in the HUB.
; one gesture to quickly see ALL of my
; all the applications is the NEW BlackBerry 10 phone are integrated. I do not have to go out of one app that refers to another app to open the second app. A very nice experience and very efficient to use!
; I can mark any picture, email, text, etc as a reminder WHILE using it! I set a date and an notification reminds me about it.
; absolutely love this feature! When you have a APP opened, you simply swipe it up and it becomes a large ICON that is the APP running, but still active. An example is the calendar, while its an active frame, it shows me next events on my calender. The same is true with Reminder, weather, etc. This is my home screen always!
; every screen has these a quick launch to these 3 main APPS.
; I have had many work phones, this is an amazing ability!! It allows you to use ONE phone for WORK and HOME by separating them through BALANCE. That include calender, emails, etc. Many people either have 2 phones or one phone with WORK and PERSONAL stuff mixed together. This allows your WORK IT department to lock-down the work stuff but they can't touch your personal or HOME stuff!!! Can't say enough about this excellent feature.
; if you compare many things you do on a daily basis between phones, the BlackBerry 10 phones are more efficient at doing many of them! All anyone has to do is simply compare for themselves. It take less gestures and keystrokes to accomplish the same task on a BB10 phone, PERIOD!
; The new BB10 phones are built on QNX core software. QNX software powers millions of things such as cars, banks, etc. Think about what the future integration holds for the BB10 phones with many other QNX products!! Also its a TRUE multitasking core operating system anther reason it stands out for many reasons compared to the "other" phones.
Need any other reasons? There are many reasons a user would find the NEW BlackBerry 10 phones are the best on the market today. The issue is public poor perception about BlackBerry resulting is them simply not trying the phone and seeing for themselves?
RE: Unfortunate downward spiral
8/29/2013 5:18:40 PM
Those are some nice things, but most very trivial and wouldnt necessarily be used by many... Also not all unique.
1) Android notifications does this as do some apps with added functionality.
2) same as 1
5) To me this is the best. It's the most "webOS" ish implementation. It pisses me off that the 2 that did this (Palm and BB) by far the best way to go. Palm is gone and BB's aren't catching on.
6) All modern OS's have that.
7) Android has that via multiple logins.
8) Highly debatable. Depends on your usage.
9) That isnt a feature, its a history and a wishful look to the future. IOS and Android can say the same thing.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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