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.
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RE: Crap Journalism!
8/29/2013 10:40:50 AM
I am a "
" because BlackBerry has produced a second generation phone that is a great product! My opinion is that this article is missing many key points and feel its slanted as a result. I will concede this is a difference in opinions, one we can't agree upon?
RE: Crap Journalism!
8/29/2013 12:06:21 PM
Obviously something like that is opinion, and I think anyone that objectively looks at a BB10 device should agree its a good OS, but this is still not a phone article. It's an article about the troubled company and it's floundering business and a potential spinoff of a service product.
As far as phones, there just isnt a compelling reason for anyone to switch. BB just caught up to 2012. In order to win customers back, they need to be where the others will be next year, not last year.
In reality, here is whats going on... More bad news for BB.
BB is going to meet Palm and its awesome WebOS on the "Great OS that no-one cares about" train. It's not enough to just have a great OS. You have to have a great OS, and a great platform, great apps , great hardware and strong consumer focus. BB has only 2 of those 5. They needs the last 3 and its simply too late for them to get it.
RE: Crap Journalism!
8/29/2013 1:31:33 PM
The sale may be bad, or they may be good? We will find out when the numbers are released soon. The article you quoted is one persons guess based on some thing from one person with a few stores. I do believe BlackBerry has a long road ahead.
"retrospooty"; your comments are simply always negative when anyone talks positive about BlackBerry, why? You throw out negative garbage constantly attacking anyone such as myself who is hoping Blackberry remains a player due to their great BB10 products. Try dialog instead of attacks for a change?
Thanks for the dialog??
RE: Crap Journalism!
8/29/2013 5:02:30 PM
I thought this was a dialog? It was to me... I dont see any attacks. You kind of called out Jason and I kind of called out you.
I am negative on Blackberry, but I dont think undeservedly so. Nothing I said here was incorrect, nor based out of malice. I want Blackberry to succeed. WP8 too. Android and Apple being the only players only benefits Google and Apple. 2 more viable players benefits consumers and keeps Google and Apple on their games.
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