When BlackBerry released BBM for Android and iOS last year, it gave the company a much-needed hit that helped spark hope that the one-time smartphone titan could get a fresh injection of revenue from its popular messaging service. On Tuesday, BlackBerry released a new update for BBM that delivers one of the many ways the company plans to make money from the service: Stickers. More →
Although BlackBerry posted a much narrower loss than analysts expected last quarter, this piece of good news was somewhat offset by the fact that the company’s revenues missed expectations and dropped below $1 billion. That said, there is one bright spot for the company that’s unblemished by any dark clouds for the moment: The success of BBM. On the company’s earnings call on Friday, the company said that BBM now had 115 million registered users and 85 million monthly active users, which shows BBM is still growing from the quarter before when it had an estimated 80 million monthly active users. More →
The messaging app market has really started to heat up after Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion and after Alibaba’s investment in the far more obscure Tango granted it a $1 billion valuation. As popular entries like Viber, WhatsApp and Tango have found big strategic partners, the number of stand-alone messaging apps with more than 100 million registered users has dwindled. BBM and Kik are among the most notable indie messaging apps left looking for sugar daddies and their futures will hinge upon whether they can show real potential to generate revenue. That’s why BBM is now at such a crucial juncture: It is dipping its toes in the advertising market for the first time.
No, you’re not going to see advertisements pop up in the middle of your BBM chats… but BlackBerry just delivered on new CEO John Chen’s promise to adjust its BBM strategy to include actually monetizing the product. Now that BBM has dozens of messaging rivals and is no longer a draw that can attract new business and keep current customers locked in, BlackBerry is tasked with finding ways to turn BBM into a moneymaker. The first step, as we reported recently, is to toss in some advertisements. More →
WhatsApp has shown that having a hugely popular mobile messaging app can be very lucrative and now BlackBerry is looking to cash in on its own widely used cross-platform BlackBerry Messenger service. We already know that BlackBerry is planning to incorporate ads and in-app purchases into BBM but the company on Tuesday unveiled a new version of BBM that could make the mobile messenger into even more of a cash cow. More →
Getting a popular messaging app is one thing — monetizing it is another. BlackBerry has already said that selling ads on BlackBerry Messenger will be at least one part of its strategy to make money from BBM and on Friday the company announced another part: stickers. Stickers are basically little cartoon characters that replace the traditional emoticons in your BBM chats and make them more colorful and expressive. Interested buyers will be able to find stickers in the BBM Shop, a new in-app mobile store that’s currently in beta. In a lot of ways the stickers sound like in-app purchases that free-to-play mobile games have become fond of using as a way to generate extra cash, although hopefully BlackBerry is smart enough to avoid some of the mistakes that EA and other companies have made when implementing such a system.
We’re now starting to get a good idea of how much BlackBerry Messenger could be worth to BlackBerry. Now that WhatsApp has been bought for $16 billion and Viber has been bought for $900 million, we’ve got a basic floor and ceiling for BBM’s value, although the messaging service is probably much closer to Viber than it is to WhatsApp. More →
Japanese internet powerhouse Rakuten announced that it acquired Viber for $900 million. Viber has 300 million registered users and is known for its strength in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia. The acquisition will no doubt reignite speculation about other mid-tier messaging apps. Behind the powerhouses like WhatsApp and LINE there is a cluster of messaging apps with strong growth and more than 100 million registered users – including two hailing from the picturesque hamlet of Waterloo, Ontario. Both Kik and BBM are on their way to hitting 150 million registered users by the end of 2014. And both have intriguing regional strengths that might make them as valuable — or even more valuable — than Viber. More →
BGR has learned from multiple sources that Executive Vice President Andrew Bocking is no longer with the company. What is unconfirmed, however, is whether Bocking was fired or decided to leave on his own accord. One source of ours tells us he was let go and that BlackBerry is rolling up the BBM group into the enterprise unit and that Andrew was displeased with BlackBerry as whole, replacing his personal phone with an Android phone instead of using one of BlackBerry’s products. Another source of ours, however, firmly denies Andrew was fired and that him leaving is “a big loss” for the BBM division and he was poached by a competitor. Either way, this doesn’t bode too well for one of BlackBerry’s only remaining products that’s still of interest. We reached out to BlackBerry and they provided the following statement to BGR:
I can confirm that Andrew Bocking, EVP, BBM has made the decision to leave BlackBerry. We thank him for his years of leadership and contribution.
Andrew Bocking is pictured in the photo above to the right of ex-CEO Thorsten Heins.
Amid reports that BlackBerry’s market share in the U.S. has reached an unbelievable 0% there’s also a rumor (backed up by a leaked apk) that the company is going to soon launch a BBM build for devices that still run Gingerbread, an Android version that was launched in late 2010. N4BB (via MobileSyrup) reports that BBM for Gingerbread is already available unofficially, providing a link to the apk file that can be sideloaded on compatible devices. More →
BlackBerry managed to miss its sales consensus by 25% even with rock bottom expectations. Drama? Well, no. The share price was drifting up by 2% at the market open. Investors have effectively acknowledged the handset unit is dead and are now focussing on things like patents and the BBM mobile messaging software. And on this front, something truly fascinating is happening. More →
BlackBerry has had a rough of 2013, to put it mildly. The company has lost billions in market cap, it has a new CEO, and there’s speculation seemingly everyday about what the company can do to save itself, or even if can be saved at all. BlackBerry is scheduled to report fiscal third-quarter earnings before the market open on Friday, and no one is expecting much, if anything, in CEO John Chen’s first foray with investors and analysts. Societe Generale analyst Andy Perkins, who rates shares hold with a $6 price target, notes the situation has gotten worse since BlackBerry last reported, due to the failed acquisition by Fairfax Financial, and a continued loss of market share. More →
Last month, BlackBerry inked a deal with several small-name Android vendors that would see BBM preloaded on select devices. And now, via CrackBerry, we learn that BlackBerry has scored its biggest win with BBM yet, as LG has agreed to preload the messaging service on its G Pro Lite budget smartphones. BBM’s success on the iOS App Store was immediate and noteworthy, but the app hasn’t yet caught fire on Google Play to quite the same degree. By preloading LG devices with BBM, BlackBerry has a chance to sway Android users its way before they even have to chance to discover the other popular chat apps on the market. The full press release follows below. More →