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 →
Amid all the turmoil of its flailing mobile phone business, BlackBerry has finally found success with the cross-platform version BBM and is attempting to continue that growth by preloading the messaging software on select Android phones. Along with the potential for external growth, the functionality of the app is expanding as well with the release of Channels. Channels are a new way to interact with the brands, artists and communities you follow. You can start a public conversation with the other followers of any Channel or send a private message to the owner of the Channel. You can create your own Channel right now on BlackBerry’s website, but in order to access the new mobile feature, you will need a BlackBerry device. The addition should be migrating to iOS and Android versions of BBM “in the coming months,” the company says.
BlackBerry’s handset sales have remained an unmitigated disaster but its cross-platform BlackBerry Messenger service has proven to be a big hit for both iPhone and Android users. BlackBerry on Tuesday announced that it had signed a with several budget Android smartphone vendors to preload BBM on their upcoming devices. The Android vendors, which include Micromax, Brightstar and Zen, are mostly smaller vendors that sell devices to consumers in key emerging markets in Asia, South America and the Middle East. Janto Djojo, the chief marketing officer at Android vendor EVERCOSS, says that BBM “is incredibly popular in Indonesia and since its availability on Android, it’s become the must have messaging app for our customers,” so it looks like BlackBerry is doing a good job of covering its bases and getting BBM out to as many people as it can.
Line announced on Monday it has hit 300 million registered users worldwide. As a sign of how white-hot the messaging app market is, Line noted that it added 100 million users in the past four months alone. This is especially impressive considering that it took the app 19 months to reach its first 100 million users. More →
It’s been more than a month after BlackBerry Messenger debuted for the iOS and Android platforms and it is still doing remarkably well on the iPhone. On November 22nd, BBM was a top 5 iOS app for downloads in no fewer than 50 countries, including important markets like South Africa, Nigeria, Argentina, Colombia, the UAE, Canada and the U.K. I think it’s safe bet to say that almost nobody expected BBM to be battling evenly with WhatsApp in their download competition in markets like India and the U.K. at the end of November. Yet BBM has been able to demonstrate uncanny longevity in a variety of Latin American, African, European and Asian iPhone markets. More →
BlackBerry’s BBM service shocked the world when it finally went cross-platform last month. While many thought it would be dead on arrival, the app rocketed to No. 1 on the iPhone download charts and brought 20 million new users to the BBM platform within a week. BBM’s stunning success continued and in perhaps the most shocking of all early reports about BlackBerry’s new BBM efforts, the app’s engagement levels appear to be beating rivals. Downloads have slowed substantially since BBM debuted in October and the app is sinking fast, currently holding the No. 76 position on the top free iPhone app chart in the U.S. That position could soon get a boost, however, as BlackBerry makes its popular new BBM app available on Wi-Fi only iPads and iPod touch devices for the first time. More →