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Report: BlackBerry May Spin Off BBM
Report: BlackBerry May Spin Off BBM

By Jennifer LeClaire
August 27, 2013 10:53AM

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If you look at what the consumers are buying it's not BlackBerry handsets, except for the hardcore give-me-my-keyboard folks. The three things that any suitor might want are the handsets, the device management and the network components -- the BBM and the music and the network operations center, said Gartner analyst Michael Disabato.
 



The company formerly known as RIM has done everything it can to save itself. RIM even changed its name to BlackBerry in hopes of leveraging its flagship branding, rolled out a new mobile operating system, introduced spiffy new smartphones, and got creative with a music service.

But it appears to be too little too late.

After reports surfaced earlier this month that BlackBerry is considering all its survival options -- including selling itself -- more speculation about the company's future is coming from the Wall Street Journal. Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Journal reports that BlackBerry is considering spinning off its messaging service into a separate unit.

"We think there is a great opportunity in bringing BBM to other platforms as people look for the right service to have even more engaged conversations on their smartphones," the BlackBerry spokeswoman told the Journal. "People are also becoming leery of how they share their personal information and mobile communication services need to be built for that. They are also looking for a simple, customizable interface and BBM brings that."

BBM's Expansion

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) would reportedly spin out as BBM Inc. The company has invested plenty in its popular messaging service. In fact, long before there was iMessage there was BBM. Hardcore BlackBerry users relied on the service to communicate with other BlackBerry users all over the world, bypassing text messaging fees.

As an exclusive BlackBerry service, BBM boasted more than 60 million monthly active users and more than 51 million daily active users who were connecting with friends or colleagues an average of one and a half hours every day. The problem was, it only worked BlackBerry-to-BlackBerry.

In May, the company announced plans to roll out BBM to multiple platforms. BBM is now available for Apple's iOS and Google's Android devices. The first version of multi-platform BBM will allow iOS and Android users to tap into several features, including the immediacy of BBM chats, multi-person chats, voice note sharing, and BlackBerry Groups -- BBM users are able to set up groups of up to 30 people and share calendars, photos, and files.

Also in May, BlackBerry announced BBM Channels, a new social engagement platform within BBM that will allow customers to connect with businesses, brands, celebrities and groups. The company plans to add support for BBM Channels as well as voice and video chatting for iOS and Android later this year.

In 2011, BlackBerry rolled out BBM Music, hoping to capitalize on the popular platform. BBM Music debuted with millions of songs from the likes of Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI. BBM lets you build a personal music profile with 50 of your favorite songs. You can refresh your profile by swapping out up to 25 songs every month. The cost is $4.95 a month.

Three Valuable Assets

We asked Michael Disabato, managing vice president of network and telecom at Gartner, for his thoughts on the latest BlackBerry chatter. He told us the company has three key assets that may be in demand.

"If you look at what the consumers are buying it's not BlackBerry handsets, with the exception of the hardcore give-me-my-keyboard folks. And that's not being critical of the give-me-my-keyboard folks. These are highly personal devices," Disabato said.

"The three things that any suitor might want to look at would be the handsets, the device management and I'll lump the network components, which are the BBM and the music and the network operations center, together as the third," he added.
 

Tell Us What You Think
Comment:

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Frank Cout:

Posted: 2013-09-08 @ 4:52am PT
You are mentioning that the phones only sell to hardcore keyboard folks, but if you look at Tmobile BEST SELLER 4g list, the Z10 full touchscreen sells better than S3 S4 Nokia 925, and that's in the US... only the Q10, iPhones and entry levels S2 and Nok521 rank better... How can you explain that? If they were not selling I would expect them to rank much lower.



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