WSJ : BlackBerry To Turn BBM Into A Separate Company
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), BlackBerry’s popular messaging platform, is widely used and has over 60 million registered users. The company is on the cusp of going cross-platform and making the service available on both iPhone and Android.
BlackBerry recently announced its plan to “explore strategic alternatives” that could include “possible joint ventures, strategic partnerships or alliances, a sale of the company or other possible transactions.” News today has surfaced about one possible spinoff in the works. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, BlackBerry might take BBM into a separate company, aptly called BBM Inc., say “people familiar with the matter.”
BlackBerry recently introduced BBM Channels, its new “social engagement platform” within BBM that allows users to connect to channels of interest, plus give you the option to follow and receive latest updates (similar to Twitter). In addition, BlackBerry was previously rumoured to monetize your BBM Channel feed with ‘Sponsored Invites.’
Another interesting transition for BBM is going beyond smartphones and the PlayBook tablet by making it available on your desktop/laptop computer. As expected, a BlackBerry spokesperson denounced the rumour and stated, “We haven’t announced any initiatives to bring BBM to the desktop.” Apparently a desktop version of BBM has been running internally at BlackBerry for years now, but never became a public offering.
BBM will be made available to the iOS and Android platform sometime this summer, the first time that the messaging platform has been offered on non-BlackBerry phones. Samsung has already started promoting BBM as it comes closer to becoming available on its Galaxy smartphones in Africa. With fast moving chat services like WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, and iMessage taking center stage, BBM needs to pull out some big moves to stay relevant.