BlackBerry considers making BBM a separate company, possibly releasing desktop version

Ian Hardy

August 27, 2013 11:28am

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.

In the meantime, BBM will be coming to iPhone and Android device in the next few weeks.

  • Jeff Slater

    What a train wreck BlackBerry is.

    • iphoneee’s bro

      You’re a train wreck.

    • Travis Chalmers


    • Fawoo

      “Hey guis a company is looking for ways to maximize profit and improve the company, what a train wreck”.

      If the article was about how Blackberry is $10 billion in debt, or something similar I would understand your statement, but the article is just about exploring their options. I had no idea companies weren’t allowed to explore their options.

    • whatever

      Blackberry has zero debt, the $10 billion number was one of the many valuations flying around to what the company might sell for.

    • Fawoo

      Yep. I know that they’re not in debt, my statement was more to illustrate that a comment such as the one Jeff made should be attached to an article with bad news, not one with good news.

  • IJustGotaTan

    Maybe they think several wrongs will eventually make a right.

  • JB

    Desktop is a great idea. Hope to see that soon!

  • Dimitri

    Hopefully they are going on the right direction. BBM on Desktop / laptop will be amazing. It would give a bit more advantage from the other messaging apps.

    It seems like Blackberry is doing everything to keep them alive & honestly its a great thing to see!. No tech company should really fall or die. Anyone that wishes that, is plain stupid.

    • Chrome262

      iMessage is already on mac. It is pretty convinient you can message across devices, and it even ties in to google. So it might not be a bad idea, especially if they have the ability to add other messengers.

    • Travis Chalmers

      iMessage has achieved revolutionary feature parity with Google Talk (now Hangouts)! Magical.

    • Chrome262

      it was just and example, was going to say MSN but alas its gone so now part of skype (and boy does it work well). Hey wait doesn’t hangouts have other messenger accounts to it? oh yeah it doesn’t.

    • Travis Chalmers


    • Chrome262

      Actually WhatsApp should have a desktop client, or do they? that would really be a big deal. Sigh remember when messenger programs where the big thing.

  • FuzzyFish6

    If they want BBM to truly be the “messenger king”, a desktop client is very important. I’m not sure why it took this long.

    • JB

      I agree 100%

    • FuzzyFish6

      Very true, hopefully this will change with the current or new management team and the potential new owner.

    • Chrome262

      its par for the course for BB, they often wait to long, and lose the initiative. At this point, while a good idea, I don’t see it doing very well, Unless its so mind blowing that it sets a new standard.

    • skullan

      It just has to be BBM. For being single platform up until and including right now, BBM has a strong buzz. People know it or have heard about it.

      Whatsapp may be more widely available and that has created a buzz for it. It should be interesting to see what the next couple of years of IM battles will bring.

    • JTon

      Yeah, or web client like gchat

  • Allwayswrite

    This should’ve been done since 2008! – Those of you at RIM, know exactly what I am talking about, but unfortunately the two hot heads in charge didn’t approve.

    The RIM Oil Tanker has cap-sized and this is the finally flare shot into the sky for help.

  • Samuel Gomez Recuero

    This is just the next obvious step in making BBM a cross plateform tool/app. But unless I missed something and this app will be ad rich, I don’t see how making BBM multi-platform will prevent the company from sinking. With well stablished apps on both (iOS and Android) ecosystems I don’t see why will someone leave whatapps or skype to talk to those on BBM when those already on BBM have means of talking to those already on the other apps.

    • FuzzyFish6

      Not just talking about BBM here because Hangouts and FB Chat are both quite solid, but users of WhatsApp and Skype both tolerate them more than actually wanting to use them.

    • Chrome262

      Actually never use my Skype or WhatsApp. I have them for the odd time when people have nothing else. I use hangouts and iMessage, they both do a great job with video and are on multiple devices. I have like one friend who has a BB (and they use hangouts), everything else is iPhone, and a few Android. People would rather use the native working solution.

    • Samuel Gomez Recuero

      Belive or not I have family members that do not have FB so FB chat will be out of the question and skype too cause that requires an account and whatapps works with their number so it is perfect for them,

    • FuzzyFish6

      WhataApp is the most convenient to set up, for sure. It just sucks as a messaging client. 😛

    • JTon

      Works well for me 😛

    • FuzzyFish6

      It works, but not well. 🙂

      Most of the time messages gets delivered quickly, like it’s supposed to. But then from time to time there’s a 10-15 minutes delay or the messages just won’t get delivered at all.

      When something works well sometimes and not the others, it’s frustrating because you can’t count on it to do what we want it to do. This is my issue with WhatsApp.

    • Samuel Gomez Recuero

      Odd I have send many, many message all the way down to central america and overseas and never ever had a problem. even whit photos and videos attached

    • FuzzyFish6

      Try to send a few messages to a friend when they’re right beside you. I’ve had it happen to me several times.

    • Alpine

      viber is even better you can make calls for free

  • Haxor99

    So disappointing that we are still waiting for BBM to come to platforms

    • hoo dat

      Samsung released ads last night announcing BBM on its Galaxy phones. Should hit the public in a few days to a week.

    • skullan

      If Samsung is also pushing it, then the market place may move to BBM as a whole. There is no denying Samsung’s push.

  • Ted Crilly

    Does BBM work on the PlayBook as is claimed in the article? I thought those of us on the PlayBook were out of luck?

    • hoo dat

      It did and it does, depending what OS you’re using on your phone. For anything up to OS7.1 you can use BBM and SMS on your PlayBook when Bridged to your phone. BB10 is a different story and BlackBerry hasn’t introduced the same functionality to that version of Bridge yet. BBM and SMS is also functional on the PlayBook 4G.

    • Ted Crilly

      Ah, so no legacy BB phone with bridge, no BBM. Interesting that they have a release for Android and iOS in the wings, but nothing for their own platform.

    • hoo dat

      What are you talking about? BBM isn’t being released for Android or iOS tablets, just phones. BB04-BB07 will be the only devices to have full Bridge to tablet functionality.

  • Plazmic Flame

    They’ve always been reactive unfortunately. Really and truly they should be trying to take over the entire IM space. Release on all platforms, including the desktop. Look how popular they were, you would think that would be the vision. Yet smaller IM companies with less resources release on all platforms on day one.

    Gotta be more forward thinking BlackBerry….

    • JTon

      I think it’s pretty easy to argue they weren’t _always_ reactive. I mean, up until the iphone they were market leaders. ???

    • FuzzyFish6

      But that’s a looooooong time ago…

    • Plazmic Flame

      I can totally agree with that. They were definitely market leaders at one point. Then after iPhone, they were non-reactive, then reactive…

  • grantdude

    Too late BlackBerry. Maybe if you did this before Whatsapp…

    • skullan

      I’ll give it a try, I still have friends on BBM and I still use an OS 6.0 BB myself (flipping between a much more painful to use Android experience).

      Whatsapp, not too fond of.

  • kroms

    There are many problems with BB ( faka RIM) and the situation they find them selves in.

    ” BlackBerry recently introduced BBM Channels, its new “social engagement platform”
    Really ? I mean there are so many alternatives already out there now and have been for years now , but ok.
    Lets be honest , BBM is not going to make billions for BB. It will generate an income and be profitable but not enough to save the Company. If you believe that you are not living in reality. Had it been released 2 yrs or maybe even a 1 yr ago? Maybe, but today if you are late to the PARTY…..YOU ARE LATE ! to the Party.
    Z10 was / is a good phone but LATE and no better then a Nexus 4 and even then the Nexus 4 still manages to do things via its continues software update (4.3) that the Z10 will never do ( see Miracast ) .

    Rim had it ALL , they had the MARKET, but were caught (along with MS) sleeping zzzzzzzzzzzz and it has cost them dearly. Now they exist in the land of ever rapidly Moving Mobile World where if you are behind then your just surviving and barley innovating.

    APPLE, GOOGLE,SAMSUNG Know this all to well.

    • J-Ro

      Apple and Google were the last to enter the “party” yet they are on top. How does that fit into you “late to the party” logic?

  • Super_Deluxe

    “Another interesting transition for BBM is going beyond smartphones and the PlayBook tablet by making it available on your desktop/laptop computer.”

    That awkward moment when its not even available for the Playbook…

  • erereet

    RIM needs BBM to succeed. better business model.

  • selonmoi

    Sorry BlackBerry, but I’m not willing to tolerate using a BB10 UI on my Android devices (if you haven’t seen the app screenshots already, take a look) just to get access to your messaging network.

    Maybe this would have been viable 3 years ago when loads of people were on BBM. Now it’s a wasteland.

    What are they thinking?

    • skullan

      I see whatsapp as just as bad. I can’t stand its UI.

  • fruvous

    BBM Inc is probably run in TM issues again with BBM Analytics if they spin off.

  • A. Avanzado

    Viber has a desktop version already. I am surprised nobody mentioned this.

  • J-Ro

    This should clue people into where they are going with this. Think Twitter and Facebook. Everyone might be seeing this as just BBM but I think they want to be the next big social platform. They have the history and the buzz, all that they need is a solid execution and BOOM.

    I expect this time next year, things will be a lot different in Waterloo.

    • selonmoi

      Hahahahaha! Solid execution and BOOM.

      Good one.

    • J-Ro

      The “BOOM” was good marketing to keep it always relevant. BOOM just looks cooler than saying all of that

  • Tim

    Samsung’s involvement will double their user base very quickly.

  • PT

    Rim! Nobody cares! Got it!

  • John878756

    Rim is dead.
    Rim is sooooooooooooo dead.
    Let us dance on their grave!