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WSJ: BlackBerry's board considering spinning out BBM as a separate company

Posted: , by Alan F.

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WSJ: BlackBerry's board considering spinning out BBM as a separate company
Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? So how desperate is BlackBerry? Apparently, times are so tough right now that BlackBerry's board is considering spinning off BlackBerry Messenger as a separate company. This is according to some company insiders who spilled the beans to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

The spinoff, to be called BBM, Inc. would be spun out from BlackBerry and polished up to make it more desirable to buyers. Some executives have already moved over to the new entity which is working on features beyond messaging, like video chat which is already available to BlackBerry users. In addition, 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.

Later this summer, BlackBerry will make BBM available as an app in the Google Play Store for Android users and in the Apple App Store for iOS users. BlackBerry will try to compete against other third party messaging apps like WhatsApp. The latter has more than 200 million members versus 60 million for BBM. BlackBerry will also introduce BBM Channels, a feature similar to Twitter that will bring companies and celebrities closer to consumers and fans. There is even talk of making some BlackBerry features available for desktop computers.

Many of the problems afflicting BlackBerry have been blamed on past management's inability to see the Apple iPhone as a legitimate threat when it launched in 2007. According to the Journal, a multi-platform version of BBM was available three years ago. At the same time, a desktop version was also in use internally. Both ideas got scrapped by the prior management team but are now being revived by current management.

"We think there is a great opportunity in bringing BBM to other platforms as people look for the right service to have even more engaged conversations on their smartphones. People are also becoming leery of how they share their personal information and mobile communication services need to be built for that. They are also looking for a simple, customizable interface and BBM brings that."-BlackBerry spokesman

BlackBerry's board could still decide to sell the entire company, put up for sale other parts instead of BBM, or the board could decide to do nothing. The company had high hopes for its new BlackBerry 10 line but the BlackBerry Z10, BlackBerry Q10 and BlackBerry Q5 have underwhelmed critically and in the stores. A 5 inch all-touch model, the BlackBerry Aristo, is expected to launch in November but could be considered DOA by smartphone buyers who will have the Apple iPhone 5S and Apple iPhone 5C to consider as well as the Samsung Galaxy Note III, the LG G2 and the Sony Xperia Z1. There remains a contingent of BlackBerry fans who say that they will stick with the OEM through thick and thin, but it might be BlackBerry's board that has the final say about how BlackBerry will look in the immediate future.

source: WSJ

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posted on 27 Aug 2013, 11:58 2

1. sriuslywtf (Posts: 297; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)

Its sad how a company like BBM "compete" with third party massaging apps. Considering they pioneered this type of messaging solution.. Anyhow, kudos BBM.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 12:27 3

2. BillyG (Posts: 305; Member since: 24 Sep 2012)

its their own fault and arrogancy. WA is #1 because they make it available for almost every platform.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 13:35

6. Reluctant_Human (Posts: 904; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

Agreed, BB has been paying for their arrogance for years now. This would have been a great idea in 2005 but now might be too little too late.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 15:50 1

11. buccob (Posts: 2714; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)

And while they "consider" and wait to see... they are one step closer to demise...

They dont realize that timing is essential in the tech world... and if you are late, you are DOA... (Playbook)

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 01:21

15. JunkCreek (Posts: 407; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

Nope. There are more on the net than just BBM. But for that time being, Internet data access was hardly developed and had a high price rate for mobile.

BBM and RIM BIS become solution because BBM offered competitive rate than any regular mobile Internet rate. Now, as the Internet rate plan has become achievable, now BBM must compete with another service.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 12:32

3. dexter_jdr (Posts: 1163; Member since: 28 Jun 2012)

lol.. now this is definitely in RIP mode.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 12:36

4. Nikolas.Oliver (banned) (Posts: 1574; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)

Bb is definitely in a deep deep trouble, RIP

Who's the bb fan now? Wendy?

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 13:36

7. roldefol (Posts: 4364; Member since: 28 Jan 2011)

Are you kidding? "Wendy" only supports the current #1 in sales.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 13:29 2

5. lexingtonsteeley (Posts: 16; Member since: 12 Jun 2013)

Too little too late, this probably would have made sense 5 years ago when bbm was popular and had no competition however now, no one really cares about bbm anymore. BBM could have easily been what whatsapp is probably even better if they made the right moves.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 14:26 1

8. AfterShock (Posts: 3698; Member since: 02 Nov 2012)

I agree with others here in saying it's probably a little late to be testing this idea out to be hugely beneficial.

Who knows maybe Samsung will buy it.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 14:33

9. McLTE (Posts: 922; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)

BBM will never succeed. It's way too little too late. They should have blasted it everywhere when it was at it's height of popularity.

Now, anything associated with Blackberry screams "don't touch!". The public has a horrible opinion of the company and everything associated with it.

I surely wouldn't go through the work of recruiting my friends to join BBM only to have it all go under when blackberry dies.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 15:23

10. shamataa (Posts: 240; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)

BB is so done. By the end of this year they will be gone. Alot like Apple. Same fate is destiny.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 18:40

12. taz89 (Posts: 2014; Member since: 03 May 2011)

Now if bbm was multi platform say 2 years ago it would be king of the messaging world but that bow belongs to what's app and bb only have themeselves to blame.

posted on 27 Aug 2013, 20:05

13. x78_nothing (Posts: 53; Member since: 07 Feb 2013)

do you guys have try new BBM+Channel on BB10? can you find nice features like: channel, "recent updates" or maybe screen share on other IMs? i have WA, Line, but BBM is still the best i think

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 01:17

14. JunkCreek (Posts: 407; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)

They won't, until their next a10/z30 failed. If their next a10/z30 success, then blackberry messenger won't be on its nor android.

posted on 28 Aug 2013, 05:03

16. jsdechavez (Posts: 758; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)

I remember the Nokia E90 had Blackberry Connect back then.

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