In a blog post titled “Time to Say Goodbye“, BlackBerry announces that it would be shutting down the consumer version of its BlackBerry Messenger, BBM. The announcement was made by Emtek, the Indonesia-based company that partnered with BlackBerry in 2016 to reinvigorate the BBM consumer service. Come May 31, 2019, the once-popular instant-messaging app, BBM would be no more. RIP.
Citing the upsurge in the number of competitors/rivals and the failure to attract new users as reasons for shutting down the service, Emtek revealed that the company had to bid farewell to the 14-year old BlackBerry Messenger — despite pouring time, energy and resources into rebirthing the service for the past three years.
The technology industry however, is very fluid, and in spite of our substantial efforts, users have moved on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on.
Though we are sad to say goodbye, the time has come to sunset the BBM consumer service, and for us to move on.
We are grateful for your support and wish to thank everyone, especially our users, partners, and employees, for being part of the BBM consumer service journey.
To cater for BBM’s life-long loyalists, however, BlackBerry is making its enterprise-grade end-to-end encrypted messaging platform, BBM Enterprise (BBMe) available to all users. The BBM Enterprise
BBM Shut Down: BBM Consumer version vs. BBM Enterprise
Unlike the consumer (read: regular) version of BBM, the BBM Enterprise is focused on users (working professionals, business executives, managers, etc.) who strictly use the BBM platform to communicate only. This means the BBMe platform lacks extra features like games, channels, and ads. BlackBerry has made the BBMe platform available for download to Android and iOS users on their respective app stores.
Consequently, BlackBerry is making the BBMe service free for the first year after which users will pay $2.49 as a six-month subscription fee. Users of the BBMe app will be able to send, edit, and retract messages; make and receive voice and video calls; know when messages have been read on personal and group chats; share files and voice notes; share location, etc. Additionally, BBMe for individual can be used on up to five devices simultaneously.
“While we respect Emtek’s decision, we’re disappointed the platform did not thrive and grow as expected. After much consideration, we decided that BBM’s loyal users should continue to have a secure messaging platform that they can trust,” said Mark Wilson, Chief Marketing Officer, BlackBerry.
To think that BBM is one of the oldest messaging services on a smartphone and one of the earliest instant messaging app that broke internet users away from an SMS-based world, it’s quite sad to see the service shutting down. It’s, however, not surprising. There are better alternatives (WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, etc.) to the platform and BBM had nothing exciting to offer users to draw them back to the service, even after its partnership with Emtek to revamp it.
The reality is that technologies that no longer serve their purposes have to go. It’s basic economics; companies cannot keep pumping resources into an unprofitable venture. No one should. Even top tech companies and corporations understand this. Google, for example, recently shut down some of its services in Q1 and Q2 2019.
Did you, at any point in your life, use the Blackberry Messenger? What would you miss the most about the service?