Friday, June 07, 2013

BlackBerry in negotiations to get BlackBerry Messenger preinstalled on rival phones

BlackBerry, which in mid-May, at BlackBerry Live, announced that it would offer its proprietary BlackBerry Messenger software on both Android and iOS, is going further than just entry into those platforms' app stores. BlackBerry COO Kristian Tear said on Wednesday that the company is working with other handset manufacturers -- yes, its rivals -- to get BBM preloaded on to their devices.

BBM has long been been considered one of the crown jewels among services that were exclusive to BlackBerry hardware. The earlier move was seen as a way for the company to leverage that strength and run on devices that own over 90 percent of the U.S. market.

BlackBerry earlier declined to comment on exactly when iOS and Android versions of BBM would appear, saying only "this summer." Similarly, Tear declined to comment further on that date, and didn't provide information on when we might see Samsung or HTC devices sporting BBM in-ROM.

BBM has an active user base of 61 million customers around the world, Tear said, with 70 percent using it daily. However, other messaging services have far greater reach. As an example, WhatsApp boasts a user base that exceeds 200 million.

There is, of course, the danger that BBM-loving customers will eschew BlackBerry phones and use rival devices. Tear said that BB doesn't see that as a concern.
We don't feel like that is a risk. Obviously, if we did, we might have acted differently.
BB CEO Thorsten Heins had a similar message at BlackBerry Live, expressing confidence, not fear. He said:
It's time to bring BBM to a greater audience, no matter what mobile device they carry.

Why are we doing this now? It's a statement of confidence. [BlackBerry 10's prospects are] so strong that we are confident that BBM can become an independent messaging solution.

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