BBM was supposed to be the last hope left for BlackBerry to cling to.
Its launch on iOS and Android was due to herald the spread of this secure, pervasive service, bringing the Canadian company’s final worthwhile asset to a huge new base.
Instead, the arrival on Google Play and the App Store coincided with the company’s sale and a raft of layoffs.
Now it’s emerged that BlackBerry’s ex-CEO Jim Balisillie quit the board in 2012 after his plan for turning BBM into an SMS-style service that could be sold to rival manufacturers was rejected.
What’s more Samsung has revealed that its chat platform, ChatON, now has 100 million users. 50 million of those have been added since May.
In the same month, BBM had 60 million active users, with WhatsApp way out front with 250 million.
But while BBM may now be on two huge platforms, Samsung’s phones are also rather popular. And that growth isn’t about to stop any time soon.
Chuck in the fact that ChatON works across PCs, iOS, Android and Windows Phone and you’ve got a service that’s surely going to do for BBM.
When BlackBerry announced its sale, it said that while things were tough, BBM would be at the heart of revival.
In light of yesterday’s Samsung’s figures, coupled with stories about BBM-based boardroom battles, that surely seems fatuous.
The belief is that as BlackBerry sales plummet, fewer people are going to use BBM.
It’s another case of ‘too little, too late’ for Thorsten Heins's company.
Putting the messaging service on other phones at the height of its popularity a couple of years ago would have given it the edge.
Instead, BlackBerry is left looking on as Samsung takes the plaudits. BBM, like BlackBerry, won’t die off just yet.
But this is just another example of how atrocious planning and extreme hubris brought a once great company so low.
Samsung will forge on, as will WhatsApp, either on its own or bought out by one of the tech giant’s.
Meanwhile, BlackBerry will be left to wonder what could have been while the kids send each other snaps and fire off missives and voice recordings using a rival service.
BlackBerry will cling on for a bit, but surely it’ll wind up like Nokia. A bygone brand and a reminder of the days before smartphones got truly savvy.