Is Blackberry Messenger (BBM) a sustainable asset for Blackberry, Inc.? Not to be a naysayer, but…
I’m a huge fan of Tech News Today. The TWiT Network provides a lot of valuable podcasts and live round table technology shows, and yes… I’m hooked. I was listening to Episode 826 – The Promised Fridge, and Tom, Iyaz and Sarah started talking about how Blackberry – formerly RIM – was considering a spin-off of their Blackberry Messenger (BBM) product into its own subsidiary. Many of them saw possibilities in it. I think it’s a whacked idea and doomed to failure. Here’s why.
Back in its prime, BBM was one of the biggest draws for new users to the Blackberry smartphone. You could send instant messages to any other Blackberry user anywhere, on any other domain or BIS/BES server that also supported BBM; and that’s where the value ends.
Blackberry is seriously considering bringing BBM to other platforms, giving users the opportunity to trade messages with users on other platforms like iOS and Android. Unfortunately, the value in that decision is coming about 5 to 7 years too late… much like everything else the Toronto, Canada organization has decided to do.
Unfortunately, BBM is much like What’sApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Line and Viber. All of these apps are already cross platform and have wide user bases. They already provide the same level of functionality – and value – that BBM provides, except perhaps, security.
In the wake of the NSA and Snowden scandals, the public has become more aware of the need for privacy and security in their communications. Even if all you’re doing is chatting with friends about what the kids did after school or the latest posting on Facebook, no one likes the idea of having their privacy invaded.
As such many are looking at secure messaging options; and if BBM can offer that to cross platform users, then there’s its market. If it can’t, then it has no market, as their app and platform is just another me-too, late-to-the-game offering in a very crowded market.
Unfortunately, this seems to be part for the Blackberry course. They should have started looking for a buyer for the company 2-4 years ago when its assets still had some serious value. Now because they’ve asserted their patents and required competitors like Microsoft and Google to find another method to provide Push notifications and mail – with device management services – as well as independent messaging services (Apple’s iMessage platform is very similar to BBM, by the way), the only value that the company has is its patent portfolio.
I also have very serious doubts as to the TRUE value of it, too. As I said, RIM, now Blackberry, forced both Microsoft and Google to find different ways to provide Push services. As such, Blackberry’s technology while still very popular, is outdated technology and is quickly losing not only relevance, but the value of its exclusivity. BBM’s value is tied to the secured server technology that everyone has already worked around.
This, like most of what Blackberry has been doing, is too little, too late, and so very unfortunate.
What do you think? Am I totally off my nut, or am I dead-on? Why don’t you let us know your thoughts in the comments, below.