Should RIM support BBM on competing platforms?

BBM on Android
By Chris Umiastowski on 22 Mar 2012 02:27 pm EDT
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Earlier this week Kevin ran an informal Twitter poll asking a question that has been on CrackBerry Nation's mind for a while. Should RIM stick with its walled garden approach and force people to buy a BlackBerry handheld if they want to use the awesomeness that is BBM? Or should they open up and port the app to Android and iOS?

Reading through the replies is pretty interesting. People definitely want to see RIM launch BBM on other devices, mostly so they can chat with their friends in other mobile camps. BBM group support is seen as critical. But at the same time, people think that RIM will be driving a nail into its own coffin if they open up BBM.

I think it's time we had a worthwhile discussion about this. It's easy to see how customers absolutely want RIM to open up BBM. These are people who love using the best mobile instant messaging tool on the planet, and feel bad for their friends who don't have it. They want to stay connected.

So if RIM believes that doing what's best for customers is what matters, it should port the app to Android and iOS.

But at the same time, a move like this would surely get elevated to a board of directors discussion. I expect that Thorsten would have to buy into the idea and sell it to the board. The board has a fiduciary duty to shareholders, so the argument would only pass if RIM and its board believed that opening BBM was in the best interest of the company's financial future.

When discussing this in the past, on the CrackBerry Podcast, I expressed my opinion on the matter. I said that I thought RIM should, at the very least, be doing all of the work required to support BBM on other platforms. They just don't necessarily need to go public with their work until they pull the trigger on a launch. Because, one day, they may decide they absolutely NEED to be on other platforms. And based on RIM's history of executing over the last 3 years, it would take them forever to get around to launching. So they need to get the work done now, and be ready to move fast should they decide to open up BBM.

Besides doing the work "just in case", should RIM open up BBM? I believe they should. I personally feel that it would be stunningly stupid not to.

There is no question BBM rocks. There is no question people on other platforms would use it. And yeah, there is no question that some people will ditch BlackBerry as soon as they can access BBM on another device. That would hurt.

But what RIM needs to do is architect a strategy that makes the benefits greater than the pain.

We've all got our own ideas on this, and I want to hear yours in the comments. Let's get a great discussion going. Maybe our ideas will help RIM see the light. Or maybe I'm dead wrong and you'll show me why.

My thoughts on why RIM can open up BBM and win:

  • Presumably, every new alternative-platform user of BBM would need to create a BBID and give up their email address. Boom! That's called list building in the world of marketing. RIM would build up a huge asset of smartphone owners who do not currently own a BlackBerry, but have shown clear interest in a major part of the platform. This list would be a goldmine for RIM to intelligently market to. Oh, that reminds me. RIM needs a Chief Marketing Officer, preferably one who gets this stuff.
  • It seems logical to me that off-platform BBM apps would not be as feature rich as the on-platform version. For example, group support is seen as critical. So allow group participation on iOS and Android but don't allow off-platform users to be group owners. This way the BlackBerry owners have a higher status in any group. Make no mistake, this would be a powerful psychological force.
  • BlackBerry BBM users could be given conversion coupons to share with their off-platform BBM buddies. For those who use the coupon, it could act as a sort of affiliate program where the referring BBM user earns credit that can be used on App World, BBM Music, or on the BlackBerry video store.
  • They could directly monetize the BBM app on other platforms (Kevin gets the credit for this one, not me). Want group access? Want access to advanced features? Want your messages archived? Video? It'll cost you a few bucks. If this fee was recurring, RIM could create a perceived automatic savings by using BlackBerry hardware instead.
  • Doing nothing means risking the development of another cross-platform IM app displacing the need for BBM. To date we haven't seen anything that comes remotely close to matching the features of BBM. But as time marches on, it's likely something will come along. I'm not so worried about WhatsApp, and the other newcomers to this space. I'm worried about Facebook and Google.

What's your stance?

Topics: BBM Editorial

Reader comments

Should RIM support BBM on competing platforms?

162 Comments

Then RIM will die because of the last point...

A possible idea that wouldn't involve offering less functional BBM on other platforms (which of course would also affect the BB users contacting other users on BBM since IM is two way) is privacy control.

E.g. for non BB users, the only way to be added could be to use their mobile phone number, like whatsapp which is extremely popular in Eastern Asia right now, meaning that BB users could keep their phone numbers private but non-BB users can't

Another way may be to to give out a period (over one year) of trial full version of BBM across the globe at the same time and then add in the restrictions after BBM gained a significant market share, and the restrictions have to be light, like for example a restriction of something million characters a month (or whatever a reasonable number is) so the switch is gradual instead of driving everyone away. Or maybe something like a once a month update that must be downloaded...basically the software expire after 1 month but you can renew it through downloading for free...so you create an incentive to switch without losing user base of the IM.

Or if RIM is uninterested in the cross platform, another idea that's quite costly but have huge marketing potential is to subsidize, basically BBM sends BBM to BBM users but text messages to non-BBM users in the same UI, and RIM covers the expense of the text message. This way the only universal true free IM would be BBM, it would have a huge incentive to switch to BBM because you are 100% positive that you never have to pay any money for any form of text communication on your device, and once it gains popularity and non-BBM users switch to BBM, the cost of the subsidy on RIM would lower...but of course...if it doesn't work...then...

And BBM needs to give BBM a new killer function too...since IM is no longer a special function for any device and as the experiment on ???( Crackberry? can't remember if it were on this site) shown, iMessage is actually faster than BBM...If RIM develops a new feasible killer function that's exclusive to its own IM and implement some strategy that increases its user base then it might be able to turn around...but it also have to act quick...and quick means like now, not late 2012

So use iMassage and get the heck off Crackberry. You know you may think you are coming here to dump on RIM and Balckberry but everytime you post is just shows how much power RIM and BB has over you.

It's actually shocking the number of people that come on here with a die RIM die focus, but the point is you are on here. Wow, if that isn't brand power I don't know what is.

I went through an Apple everything phase, now I proudly own no Apple products (which truthfully is the silent majority), and I couldn't give a fig about the company's products (except they kill people making them) let a lone going to Apple site on a daily basis to post there.

For Consumers I agree, wait till Hell freezes.

That Said, I think RIM needs to make BBM a BES/Mobile fusion add on,

Currently BBM and NOC access gains RIM $3-5 per user per month, by giving BBM to NON BlackBerry's RIM will be forced to give up that revenue for the consumers, since Carriers wouldn't agree to the service charge for BBM on all device.

BUT for Enterprise that is another story, RIM gets the money from MDM fees, and the devices will be connected to a NOC, so Bring BBM to the other platforms, make it feature Rich, but as Kevin said, add costs to features, BBM basic is included with your MDM fee, you want groups, add $.50 per user per month, you want shared calendar? add another $.50 per user per month, if the organization makes use of BBM on all the devices slowly they'll see the cost savings of going all BlackBerry again.

PLUS RIM has active development and improvement going on a cross platform BBM client in the event the company needs to be split off into a service company they can deploy BBM as a IM client to consumers as well

Hell no! You want bbm then buy blackberry. If you want to use netflix or Skype don't we have to buy a device that's compatible? Why should rim stoop for everyone but nobody wants to return the favor... I say no to isheep and greenmen buy bb.

Peace

Wow! I never thought if it that way. I agree. We, as BlackBerry users, have to purchase a different device if we want Netflix, Skype, etc. Why should RIM give away an exclusive BlackBerry app?

BBM is one of RIM's biggest advantages over the competition. It is one of the sole capabilities keeping people on the current platform.

Imagine BBM on BlackBerry 10? It would be on a next-generation OS that would be adding just another reason to purchase a BB10 device over something else. RIM needs to build up a portfolio of applications and features that are exclusive to BlackBerry devices. BBM is a BlackBerry staple. I'd prefer RIM to keep it that way.

Totally agreed with you, they want BBM, get the Device. If RIM make this action,it will be a Doom for them.

That's so true! You really want to use the Black Berry Messenger, and I stress on Black Berry, then get a Black Berry!!!

Agree, in fact this headline is just stupid. I can tell you now if BBM was cross platform I'd be dropping in to AT&T on April 8 to get a Lumia 900.

NEVER!!! i bet half the people who own a BB will ditch for another!!!! sorry not me though ;)

Sportin a 9630!!!

-1 --> +5
just stay on blackberry. There would be no point of buying a blackberry if bbm is available on other platforms. If this happens I'd be switching from a bb to another platform.

with an 8% market share..the effect is that all of my contacts have gone android.. BBM will become IRRELEVANT if it stays sole platform

+6

Nahh... I think RIM really needs to share BBM with all other platforms. Everybody has either forgotten about RIM or for the others who do remember them only do so because of all of the negetive publicity shown on the news. If RIM shares their awesome BBM with iOS, Android and Windows, they will create a huge amount of awareness of the awesomeness of Blackberry. And all of those suckers stuck with another platform will give Blackberry another look when they buy their next smart phone so that they can have the "real thing" the creator of BBM.
Sharing BBM with everyone would be the best move RIM could possibly make right now. Do It RIM!!

Lol amen to that. I think the porting to other platforms is gonna take so long if after 2 years they havent ported to the Playbook

RIM needs to provide a competitive product in the IM space. The current iteration of bbm has no competitive advantage relative to the competition (except for quantity of users). Therefore, either improve BBM with features to draw new subscribers or open it up to competing platforms in order to maintain BBM's relevance.

He's right...any os nowaday have their own IM that is at least as functional as BBM...having BBM is as much of an advantage as having iMessage, Google Talk, and Live Messenger etc or maybe even less as these IMs are compatible with non-smartphone devices...and the user base really determines the dominant IM.

I know a lot of people on here is saying that it's the last thing that's keeping it alive but if they don't increase user base and improve function wise and you're calling it the last thing that's keeping RIM alive then RIM may as well die since other IM having larger user base would, of course, be more useful and accessible, making RIM's products inferior in every aspect.

Basically take the risk or die....

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't see Apple, or Android(Google) bring ichat icrap to the BB. WHY THE F*KC would Research in Motion even consider stretching their BBM infrastructure across platforms that want to see it DIE?

NO.

Losing market share in the US and Canada, RIM needs to remind or give the opportunity for people to see why Blackberry is still revelant. Not everyone will wait for BB10. I think it needs to be done. Great article, Kevin!

Good to see that even the peanut gallary has an opinion.

@drummer_god no points offered for a well thought out editorial piece by a very knowledgeable analyst who put great effort into offering his opinion? An opinion many people respect and appreciate.

It's a little childish to totally blow someone's editorial off with "dumbest article of all time" and offer no actual constructive feedback?

One thing is for sure, they can't and wont do this before BB10 and new phones launch as they need the latter to be a success and need every competitive advantage they can get for their hardware. If the phone launch falters or outright fails, than they should as their only hope will be to become a software and services company.

sent from my olskool os5

iM NOT SURE WHAT THEY SHOULD DO BUT ITS JUST NOT LOOKING GOOD WHEN ANGRY BIRDS RELEASES FOR ALL PLATFORMS BUT RIM AFTER THEY FINALLY "SUPPOSEDLY" GOT THINGS STRAIGHT. I DONT EVEN WANT THE GAME BUT IT JUST LOOKS BAD.

YOU GO TO THE WEBSITE AND THEY HAVE DOWNLOADS FOR : Download for iPhone
Download for iPad
Download for Mac OSX
Download for Nokia Devices
Download for Android: Amazon (ad-free) / Google Play (ad-supported)
Download for Palm WebOS

BUT NO PLAYBOOK ..NO BLACKBERRY
NO LINKS AT ALL FOR BLACKBERRY AND ITS THE SAME ON ZINIOS SITE.,LINKS FOR EVERYTHING BUT BLACKBERRY.

RIM NEEDS TO DO SOMETHING BECAUSE IT SEEMS AS IF THEY DONT EVEN EXIST ANYMORE!!!

Strange when I go to the Rovio site and look at the pages:

Angry Birds - http://www.rovio.com/en/our-work/games/view/1/angry-birds

Angry Birds Seasons - http://www.rovio.com/en/our-work/games/view/4/angry-birds-seasons

Angry Birds Rio - http://www.rovio.com/en/our-work/games/view/6/angry-birds-rio

BlackBerry App World is listed for each game.

We even covered it here on CrackBerry.com back in December 2011. http://crackberry.com/angry-birds-blackberry-playbook-now-available

Uh, there are currently three versions of Angry Birds available for the BlackBerry PlayBook, all found in App World.

Edit: Issac beat me to it.

YUP!!!!!!!!

People are leaving rim for other reasons.. They Miss BBM.

Make it a paid app and recoup some of the loses.

It will help keep people on a BBM that feel the pull to leave to IOS or Droid with their friends.. One of the things I hear from our BB users is that their BBM friends lists are shrinking and feel excluded. Get everyone addicted to it again and expand on your BBM connect apps that are cross platform and pay the devs to support BB os that are the most popular. When people go to buy a new phone, they will think about BBM and may feel a connection with BB again and might help them look at a BB phone again.

It would be a win.

BBM is NEVER going to be a compelling reason to purchase the phone in NA

Yes, it seems to me that most people who diss on BlackBerries haven't used them. My guess is the more people you can expose to the BlackBerry platform the more likely they may be to buy it in the future. Putting BBM on other handsets may have a marketing aspect to it. Arguably Microsoft use a somewhat similar strategy of "surrounding" established server systems when they went into the server market.

I also agree with adrenaline_x above.

Nobody on iOS or Android even cares any more about BBM. It no longer matters. Might as well be talking about a proprietary Palm Pilot messenger.

Yes...but a stripped down lite version instead of the full featured version BB owners use, and of course charge them for it.

No, no,no,no,no,no,no...
Today it is the only advantage that BB has over other phones OS's.
It'd be like when Apple licensed their OS. They LOST sales, and the license fees where not enough to recoup the losses.
So, no. Don't do it.

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NONO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NONO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Different Devices need different exclusives! It would be a huge fail if they do :(

I feel they should do it but only make it available after they release BB10 devices, and not have as many features as on the BB devices. Then if the have that list of emails they could email out offers to get a BB10 device (since they will be the best available).

I believe they should have bbm on other platforms. a week ago three of my friends owned blackberries and we were very close because of it but ever since they went on to other platforms its hard to stay connected. I will never consider any other phone other than a blackberry but not sure about other people who are in the same situation as i am. BBLOVE!

After all the stick and grief RIM gets from every major player in the business, after all the "No Skype, Netflix" business after producing a Tablet that shits all over the iPad, after all the disrespect RIM recieves and BlackBerry as a whole? Man, every BlackBerry fan should be feeling salty by just reading this article.

Once RIM releases BB10, shits on iOS and makes love to Android, MAYBE then. Until them, BBM shall remain BBM.

BBM is the natural vehicle for BBM-BBM voice/video call over Wifi/BIS. RIM has not shown that the BIS infrastructure can handle the load and no current devices even make use of these protocols. Given their big growth in developing countries, I don't think developing country carriers want to give consumers that kind of high-load communication access with BIS.

Until they find a solution to this Catch-22, I see no value for Cross Platform BBM.

Love your articles, but absolutely on the fence with this topic. Say every smartphone user in the world bought the bbm app for 1 dollar/year that would be like 400 million dollars in revenue, but how does that factor in when you have to accommodate 400 million users. what would the server costs be for that? How does the "always on" bbm on a blackberry factor in when ios and android don't fully support multitasking, push services maybe? How does the 400 million in revenue compensate for say a 35% loss of bb device subscribers? I do agree that facebook and google would be a direct concern but what if facebook decides to offer their messaging app for free? Seems like this might be an end strategy in the event of a bankruptcy but is ordering your tombstone for your eventual death really forward thinking for a competitive business or just practical thinking.

I'm very torn on this. Are we talking say...Android to Android via BBM, or would there have to be a Blackberry in the mix somewhere? Former I say heck no, latter I can see value in. One BB connected to one android, android user really likes what they see and considers a BB. Very slick marketing. Allow Android to Android with no BB in the loop at all, well now you've just let them run away with your awesome invention with not much upside for you other then a little revenue.

And from a "get this ready" point of view, giving RIM some benefit of the doubt, since we don't yet have native BBM on the playbook, is it possible they are taking this opportunity to treat the playbook like a "foreign entity" and developing from that point of view, so that if they get it right, porting to iOS or Android becomes far easier? As we've seen with OS2.0 Playbook really is nothing more then a test-bed for RIM in prep for BB10. They're just nice enough to let us play with it (and maybe make some money too).

I was a BB user for at least three years, BBM was great, and I had all four family members on BB's and using BBM.. absolutely loved it. But, my wife's contract was up for renewal and she wanted something different, she's not a techie by any stretches, so she got me to set up her new Andoid (Samsung Galaxy S2).... I loved it so much just setting it up, that I made the switch a few weeks later, just because of the flexibility of it all.

I use Whatsapp because it's the best out there right now, but BBM would be ok to have back. It was nowhere near a deal breaker in switching phones. Android had so much going for it, I was stupid not to switch.

I like apps, and I could only have a few apps on my 9700 before I would run out of memory just to hold the apps on the phone let alone run them. Now, I have gads of room on my 16gig internal storage, and up to 16 gigs more on a micro SD if I want. the product RIM puts out is great for some, and I thought I was one of them, but Android's products are so much better overall, that BBM will not be the hold back for users switching.

IF RIM can come up with a product that can operate like my Galaxy S2 then I might consider switching, but there's nothing close yet...

If RIM is going to exit the hardware manufacturing market, then YES. If they are going to continue manufacturing devices, then NO. Here is my reasoning:

Consumers purchase RIM devices due to the unique software and services that the BlackBerry platform provides. This BlackBerry platform is only available on the hardware that RIM manufactures themselves. If RIM developed a BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) client for the Android and iOS platforms, then less people would buy RIM manufactured devices.

I have been analyzing RIM for over five years, and I've said this in the last year and a half that RIM needs to decide if they are are a software and services company or a hardware manufacturer. And in my opinion, it is clearly leaning towards the software and services market.

Samsung has taken over manufacturing smartphone devices, they are clearly a leader in this market. They have beaten Apple, HTC, Nokia, and LG. Currently, RIM is not only having a hard time competing with this, but it will only get more difficult in the future. Samsung is already in the process of squeezing margins, RIM used to have over 40% gross margin and last quarter they were at 38% or even slightly lower. When RIM gave guidance back in December, they said they are going to sustain their 38% GM. As much as I would like them to not only sustain it, but increase their margins, this is hard to believe. Smartphone devices are getting cheaper and cheaper, and this is mainly due to Samsung (like I mentioned earlier).

Read more of my analysis, and follow me on twitter @SurrealCivic

Chris has some really good ideas! As long as BB owners get the full robust BBM and other platforms get a scaled down version I'm fine with it. . .make 'em pay $1.99 for the app and then let us BB owners connect with other devices to do all the marketing for RIM. . . it would be a great idea to release it to other platforms around the same time BB10 devices are available. . .

I think RIM made a mistake in not giving access to BBM on different platforms. This should have been the initial move they made before WhatsApp, IM+, LiveProfile and Kik hit the market. Regardless of the other applications available (having one would make a friendslist easier though), RIM should consider iOS and Android as a doorway into selling licenses. I doubt they will buy into now, but its worth a shot to have a universal messaging service powered by the blackberry service. The only problem I see with this is the architecture of the phone and OS. Aren't BBM numbers hardcoded into the phone's hardware? If that is the case, how will a device that does not have a unique number interact with BBM? Through email like GTalk? Maybe by phone number like WhatsApp?

RIM fell behind in the game and as much as I want to see them succeed, they lost to apple and google. Most people leave blackberry due to the lack of application support. We always get things last, if anything at all. Until they fix their connections with developers, I feel a lot more people will be moving to iOS or Android, including me. Even with Blackberry10 on the horizon, its lack of community support will be its downfall even though it may be the best operating system to exist on a mobile device.

Whatever happened to RIMs suggestion on providing email service to apple or google for realtime push messages? With that discussion, they should have suggested the BBM portion if its even possible.

Just as a side note, my BBM list is dropping rapidly as more and more friends are leaving to Android or Iphone. Eventually, there will be no need to have bbm or a blackberry for that matter because BBM will be useless to me.

RIM needs to fix this situation pronto!!

I think that BBM connected Apps are a great idea. If RIM can create a competitive edge out of BBM connected Apps in BB10 and only allow BBM connected Apps to work on BB10 then allowing ppl on other platforms (android and iOS) to get addicted to the most awesome instant messaging system in the world may convince them to come to BB10 for BBM connected APPs

look at MSN it eventually got drowned out .. the same would happen to RIM if they do this. Not only that do you know how fast people would copy all Rim's work once its in the open!

Bad Idea - I say stick to your guns keep it at home.

What do you mean "once it's in the open"? It IS out there!

MSN got drowned out because Microsoft realized it was irrelevant. It is no longer one of their flagship products. Such is not the case with BBM.

RIM needs to build a viable, competitive multi platform OS based off QNX before they export BBM.

BBM is currently one of the major selling points for BlackBerry devices.

Once BBs have more attractive features they should look start looking into exporting BBM onto other platforms.

Except the whole point is that BBM is NOT as an attractive selling feature as it once was.. it's loosing it's pull.

My opinion is that if RIM is resisting multiple platform BBM because it will hurt Blackberry sales then they're already losing the war.

BB10 devices have got to be rock star devices on their own and having BBM available across multiple platforms should be an automatic issue.

BBM won't hold users to Blackberry devices long term, RIM should recognize this and work to make devices people want and license BBM to other platforms to try to generate revenue from it.

PG

Why do people like Lazagna make a fool out of themselves saying that they left BB but are on the BB forums preaching about platforms that BB users obviously don't like. For example: I will never use a Google controlled Operating system (I would be stupid to use Android knowing what I know). I would give up my freedom and be locked in by Apple before giving up my individuality to google. A little off topic but.....

I love Blackberry as a corporation and I love BBM on my BB Torch!

Because if you read my whole post, I said that if RIM would make a phone as good as my Android, I would consider coming back. In order for me to know if RIM has done such a thing, I need to stay connected to the BB world, and Crackberry is the best place for that.

My two kids still have BB's so I also want to be able to support them when I can.

I don't see how that is making a fool of myself.

I hear ya! But YOU wouldn't be giving up anything only gaining compatibility with others.

Its only been 10 years (maybe less) since Mac and PC have been able to share files. Shouldn't we be able to talk/communicate the same way?

I'm a little torn, but think they need to keep BBM to themselves. BBM isn't something non-Blackberry users will feel compelled to use, but it is something BB users cling to. Opening it up to other platforms won't increase the number of BB users. It will just make it easier for them to leave. Even if you add restrictions or payments, I don' t think it will work out in RIM's favor. They need to find something that will draw people back to BB. I don't think the current line of Be Bold commercials is cutting it.

The downfall of Apple in the beginning was that Steve Jobs thought that no one should have access to his technology and it was developed all in house. Now the reason Apple and Microsoft are what they are is because they have allowed other suppliers to gain access to their products and supply parts that Apple could not develop on their own fast enough. No one is going to buy a phone that offers BBM just because it has BBM. People will buy a phone that appeals to them for many reasons, maybe BBM is one but it won't be the only. Rim needs to focus on a couple key products and make them awesome. How many phones does Apple make? How many phones does RIM make? It's not hard to make one thing really well.

I would like to see it.

But understand how it could maybe possibly kill BlackBerry handset sales.

If BB10 comes around & stacks up well against Android, iOS & Windows Phone, then maybe they should open up BBM

WhatsApp, Kik, GroupMe, iMessage, LiveProfile etc... while they are all 'ok'

They are pants in comparison with BlackBerry Messenger.

I am suspicious by nature and I have believed for some time that RIM did not put BBM natively on the PlayBook on purpose for the very reasons sited in so many responses - it would just spur on movement away from the phones to other operating systems. I would say right here and now that if BBM were available either stand alone on the PlayBook or on an Android phone, I would consider dropping my 9810.

Ironic that you say that. When they put native email on the PB, it actually made my phone switch to android easier. I've got a gmail account, and with two way sync, the playbook and my android phone play well together, at least when it comes to email.

Absolutely open up BBM to Andriod, iOS, and even Windows. Very few of these closed systems survive if they remain closed. Opening the iTunes service up has worked well for Apple, well before they were the giant they are now. Monetize BBM with advertising and fremium service and exclusive features for BB owners. Link BBM to KEY APPS to build the relationships with app developers.

But...this is critical...do this when BB10 is released, so there is a highly competitive, highly integrated RIM phone that is also a choice for BBM.

People are not leaving RIM because of lack of messaging and are not staying just because of BBM.

Oh yeah, how about some kick-ass marketing? Have seen NOTHING about that TV series that features the PlayBook and JLo and Markie. What the?

Ah, yeah. It's an absolute no-brainer. Being exclusive to BB is not differentiation, so open it up, make it better than other options out there, integrate it with native BB apps (which you can't get on other platforms), make it awesome, then wake-up and smell the coffee.

It's probably technically quite challenging (since they still can't port it to QNX!) but direction-wise, it's the absolute right thing to do.

I think RIM might have missed the boat when Apple got iMessages out.

They absolutely should have offered BBM across all competing platforms. I know it means for some people there would be no reason to buy a BB but those people probably aren't going to keep their BB anyway.

Even if they did open up the platform to other platforms, it will be too little too late. We (android/ios community) have created far better messaging/group messaging/picture sharing apps already.... GroupMe owns BBM! and it keeps getting better!

This would have been a good move two years ago. So many people who thought they couldnt live without BBM left RIM and realized they could very well live without it. There a plenty of good cross platform IM services out there already. RIM should do it anyway. That way thier perfect record of being a year too late on everthing they do would be kept in tact.

when aquaman drowns and the human torch starts swimming maybe...lol

if they DO develop an app, they would have to be compensated in some way because they would be loosing a sale. let's face it, most of the non-business users buy a blackberry ONLY for bbm... #truestory

It's already done people, we heard about the investment of Samsung in RIM ... I'm under the impression that the 1.5 B is to have exclusive access to BBM and other BES function. If that's the case, trust me, that will be the best strategy for RIM, instead of offering it at large, offer it only to one manufacturer and then force people to either go with a only touchsreen awesome device like the Galaxy S or benefitting of the great keyboard that is the bold, ditch everything else, who cares about the torch A or Torch B what real blackberry purist wants it's the iconic keyboard, what made them so successful in the first place. Once RIM will be able to compete on even ground, BlackBerry 10 vs iOS vs Android, then and only then you offer it at large so people won't have to chose in between a dinosaur of a blackberry 6 or 7 and the modern functionality of the iOS. Don't forget people, people will grow tired of having the same as everybody else, people are impress because they are upgrading from a V551 to an iPhone, from a RAZR flip to an iPhone, me too I'd worship steak over crackers but we have to face the inevitable ... BBM has to be available to everyone in order for RIM to be back to the greats, they only need to do it strategically.

No and NO!

BBM should not be on every competing platform. Heres why!

1) on android - if its a paid app the app will be pirated and will be in the hands of millions without any incremental revenues for RIMM

2) Most users buy RIMM for BBM especially in asian and latin countries. If bbm is available in other platforms, you could risk cannibalisation.

3) Get BBM on Playbook first! This could improve sales drastically

Another CrackBerry article that presents a poor argument. Where's your cost benefit analysis? How does an annual subscription from iOS and Android users offset the recurring revenues from BlackBerry software and hardware? How does giving RIM one more ball to juggle make their current situation any better?

Why is it that BlackBerry communities spend so much time trying to give credence to rumour (a take out by Amazon & Samsung) and items such as BBM going multi-platform when this is inconsistent with the views of its new CEO?

Release BBM music /BBM as one app for Android, IOS, and windows phone. Right now Blackberry consumers are required to pay $5 a month for BBM music...sooo charge $7 for the other operating systems. I like the idea of giving a "watered down" version of BBM to other platforms but charging just for BBM service probably wouldnt be enough to grab alot of attention. If you add BBM music in the mix, RIM would essentially be building a NEW music social platform and be bringing in a profit at the same time. I think there are endless possibilities that can be positively created for RIM with the right marketing approach without shooting themselves in the foot.

Hell!!! No!!! You want BBM buy a BB. That aside maybe in some sort of cross platform deal but only for those apps that have supported the BlackBerry platform and continue to do so.

Given the fact that RIM is gasping for air, opening up of BBM on other platform looks real tacticle dicission.
Other platform users should generate revenue to RIM.
1.Make BBM paid app.
2.Allow advertisements & generate revenue.
3.Utilize user database to make more revenue $$$.

We are not sticking on to BB just because of BBM. Different users will have different reasons to be a BB fan. Of course BBM is a great feature & given the number of BB users/friends around us using BB/ BBM is restructive to certain groups. As I'm surrounded with people with Android (55%), iOS (5%), BB (20%) & other OS (20%). These percentage changes to each persons using BB & a guy with 80% friends with BB always thinks BBM rocks!! (Of course it Rocks). Bringing BBM to there platform will give not only generate $$$$$ also make every mobile user happy!

I'm a happy BB user for 4yrs with Bold & PB!

RIM should do the complete opposite and incorporate other platforms into BBM. MSN, AOL, Chat On, Yahoo. Make BBM the launch pad. That is a way better selling point than putting BBM on other platforms.

lmao, they dont even have bbm for the playbook? wtf

I just clicked on crackberry by accident, meant to go to android central, but I had to stop and laugh at this post. I didnt know people still use blackberrys, nor did I think you guys still worship BBM. Even if BBM did come to android, I still wouldnt use it because I don't have ay friends with a blackberry anymore, who would I talk to? Everyone that I talk to is either on GroupMe, Faceboook Messenger, or some other chat app. With GroupMe and facebook, we can chat from our phones and our computers, send pictures, like statuses, set avatars, all sorts of great stuff. If BBM came to Android, who would waste their time registering a blackberry id or whatever its called? and for what reason?

I went to DR a few months ago, and even they are tired of Blackberry, I personally witnessed someone get fed up with it and buy an android phone a few hours later.

I still say RIM needs to go to bed with Microsoft. Can you imagine BBM with Skype integrated? I know bbm Music catching on when bbm is on windows phones and when you're talking to someone and your profile shows you listening to a song and that person wishing they had that ability. Imagine when bb10 comes out (hopefully) with bbm native on the playbook and while others may be access it through their other phones they can't skype through bbm with their tablet. There is all kind of combos where they can release certain functions where instead of people leaving they might just come to blackberry. If this happens I'd say it should not happen until bb10 because for how much I love my bold touch not too many people are going to come back for this phone.

Instead of RIMM opening BBM to other platforrms, they should open their customers to just get android phones, that way the RIMM death will be quick and painless instead of long and painful.

Lmao , they do that n blackberry would go out of business , I know I would prob leave. N get sumthin else that I can download bbm

This is something I 've thought about for some time. I think, at the end of the day, I have to go along with Chris. It is called BLACKBERRY messenger. Be good to see that logo all over other platforms. Make it a premium app. Make 'em pay. Make it a subscription. Don't give 'em full status.
Be a cash cow and great advertising.
Plus, we'd be able to bash 'em on BBM!
Go RIM!

Slow news day... Quick somebody rewrite that article about putting BBM on other platforms, that'll surely get some hits on the site!!

Really need to switch up these filler articles...

No kidding. I don't know what's worse SeekingAlpha posting another article to push the agenda of RIM's detractors or CrackBerry publishing another article that is inconsistent with everything the incoming CEO told us when he took over his new role. Is CrackBerry working with or against RIM?

They already missed the boat on this already heaps of cross platform messengers all my friends now use whatsapp my bbm list has shrunk to less than half my original list. If they port a less functional version at a small price they may have some chance cause its no longer the main reason for those left on blackberries as their are alternatives which are catching up to bbm and they have a growing user base compared to bbm

NO, not in this lifetime or the next. Which ever percent of people still holding on to BlackBerry because of BBM is to important to loose.

Blackberry Messenger is a BIG reason why people stick to Blackberry Phones.. it's a reason why I stick to them, plus the sweet keyboards! They should keep it only on their phones because it would make no sense to have it on other platforms... sounds like a cool idea, but it will only benefit other smartphones.. Blackberry wouldn't be unique anymore.. Keep Blackberry Messenger on BLACKBERRY!

I wouldn't even think about it. That would make no sense at all. If you want bbm buy a blackberry. It is a good message to send. We had family members move back from ios because of this

This is really up there for one of the dumbest articles on Crackberry. Here's some questions for you...

Does Apple let other mobile platforms use imessenger? Facetime? icloud? itunes?

Of course not.

Absolutely not, I think the future of BB OS needs to have BBM deeply embedded in it. In apps, in settings, in everything. It needs to be even more part of the BB Experience. BBM isn't just an instant messenger. It's a social network.

I think BBM should remain a BB exclusive service. They should make it as excellent as possible and provide basic texting and maybe picture sending to non-BB phones and that's it.

BBM excellence is a draw to the ecosystem.

Let cross platform apps like WhatsApp fill the void.

If they do that, the number of consumers they will lose is ridiculously huge. I mean the majority of BB users in my country use it MAINLY BECAUSE OF BBM!

i actually made a post about this a few days ago.

RIM should consider acquiring the new IM platforms (Whatsapp, LiveProfile), and offer BBM via desktop like MSN.

Just don't give non-BB's full features. Such as security.

Nothing gets people more scared these days than "Big Brother" is watching you - PRIVACY.

It's simple marketing tactics that RIM can't figure out, for at least 3- 4yrs now..

I find that if they do decide to open up bbm, they should just put a price tag on it, on other devices such as android and ios, there they can simply make some money while the customers would be happy to still be able to use the app

/agree

If you have a blackberry it should be free and if you have another device it should have all the same features except cost (ex:$2.99) per month as a subscription service.

(Not as a one time fee because then it wouldn't convince people to side with purchasing a blackberry, the monthly fee is rather a continuous INCENTIVE to switch over to purchasing a blackberry - think of it as a gateway to the blackberry device and ecosystem)

I am really curious on what other people think about this idea.

I wish they would do this. Of the 50+ BBM contacts I used to have 5 years ago, I now have 2. I use SMS now primarily. BBM is a great messaging system. I wish it was available on all platforms (the key is, ALL platforms, simulataneously).

ps: if all you have on your platform is BBM to keep the hordes from defecting, then RIM is well and truly screwed. Opening BBM to all platforms would increase the usability of the BB, increase its utility. It's a good thing. If the devices can't stand on their own, then it should die.

BBM will become irrelevant if it does not go multi-platform. I love my Bold, but don't have anybody to BBM with. Probably 2/3 of the people I know have iPhones now.

Why the heck not? I am a huge BB fan so I understand a little about some BB users saying no way. But come on why not? Like most others that say yes. Make it more feature friendly for BB users. What would be better to say to someone on another device when they cant do what we can do. (whatever feature is not available on another device). "Should have bought a Blackberry". I see it as more a plus then a minus for RIM IMO.

Fernando zuniga in my opinion. RIM should NOT open bbm for other devices. Maybe for android but NOT for IOS screw apple. The reason why is because just like my fellow bb users have said bbm is what makes blackberry unique ,also some people will leave blackberry if other device have bbm their will be no point on having a bb phone . RIM you don't need to open bbm just to sell your phones what rim needs to do is have more apps. Like netflix Skype ect. I know people who like blackberry friends who want a blackberry smartphone but they always say the same thing that blackberry does not have a lot of apps and I agree with them. Your devices are great you company is great just have more apps and I will guarantee that more people will move to rim again and once again you will be the dominating company that RIM once was.

I think it would be a clever decision to provide BBM for any device that is provisioned with BlackBerry Mobile Fusion.

they should just put in better apps and games like what android and apple have but do not share bbm.. what is rim thinking like iphone have the imessage now and there is so much cross platform messaging out there why would they wanna share bbm..

I think the most important part of this article is the point that RIM need a Chief Marketing Officer. If done correctly RIM could easily develop an app to go cross platform the problem is ot needs to be done right.

wow that is alot of no's f no heck no wonder how many post i can find from all the noooooos for android market access sorry play store access keep bbm there are a million cross platform chat clients

BBM is and always has been useless for me. Nobody I know has a bb, so I've never used it once in 4 years. It would be great if it worked with other phones.

They should have done this awhile ago but still not too late to do this in short future... As long as the unique and wildly features like bbm groups (together with album, calender) are there, people have much less reason to use whatsapp.

Using bbm to keep a tight circle of users is not the way to do business in the time where social is very essential. And it is silly to think that people would be attached to/attracted to Blackberry because it is the only platform for bbm... People want to talk to friends and enjoy communication wherever they are, and whatever device they are using.

Let's give MORE people a good taste of Blackberry and its more likely for them to like you back.

NOOOOOOOOO maybe if blackberry is dead then as a method for rim to hang on in the mobile market but ONLY then

Keep improving BBM, add new apps and functions that plug into it. For example, rather than letting other people use BBM on other platforms, allow BBM to accept IMs from other platforms! I hate having to use 5 chat programs to stay connected to everyone! Make them all feed into BBM! NOW! TODAY!

Hey Chris, great article for real. It's spurred great conversation in the comments.

I want to say that I think your thoughts on WhatsApp need to be rechecked. Among all the alternatives to BBM, I would say it's the most dangerous out there as it has the same (if not more) features than BBM and is offered cross platform.

Google isn't really a threat at the moment with GoogleTalk or Google+ and Facebook still won't be dominant with it's messenger offerings simply because many people still don't have Facebook or left Facebook and don't want to add people just to chat to them.

WhatsApp allows you to send a pic, send existing pic, send an audio note, share a contact and share your location. The only thing really holding WhatsApp back and that has held it back is that whoever you want to chat with has to been in your phone and you have to be in theirs, meaning you have to exchange phone numbers.

The advantage of BBM is that you can add people and they never have to have your number.

Over the years, many alternatives have entered the playing field but yet none of them have won the hearts and mind of the masses of people. RIM still has a chance with BBM and the brand power of BBM, that it would probably be game over if they went multi-platform.

In regards to pricing, they would have to match WhatsApp:

Blackberry = 1 year free, $0.99/year afterwards
iOS = $0.99 one time purchase
Android = 1 year free, $0.99/year afterwards
Symbian = 1 year free, $0.99/year afterwards
WP7 = 1 year free, $0.99/year afterwards

So BBM would have to be the same pricing or go ballsy and just do $0.99 one time purchase on all platforms.

Also, I disagree with cutting out features for the non-BB platforms, its best to keep the experience the same as much as possible across all platforms while still keeping to the design language of each platform.

I've said a lot and it's kinda all over the place but in the end, I think it's time for RIM to go multiplatform and regain the IM market.

What i see for BBM is instead of going cross platform, it have to connect with other cross plateform IM service like Facebook MSN whatsapp IM+ google. Name it. Like this I could chat with all my friends on other platform inside only one app instead of switching from one app to another. Like that BBM will be a BB only cross plateform app. Something. That we will have that others won't have.

Could they even technically pull it off? After the issues getting BBM on the PlayBook I would say getting it on all those varied Android devices, iOS devices and Windows Phone devices (none of which have PINs or are linked to a BlackBerry ID... might be very hard to pull off.

I haven't really used BBM because anyone I would chat with doesn't have a BB.

I think having BBM available on other platforms would help market the brand.

I think the best option might be that BBM for PlayBook and BB10 would connect to other IM sources and it could aggregate like the email app on PlayBook - or integrate into it. So BBM could be more of a platform that works with other services and provide tons of functionality like video chat, etc. If it connected to other services, we wouldn't need a Skype app because we could communicate with those users. It could be like the one app to rule them all. Add a slick cascades interface, and it'd be a killer app.

Well first off: No customer is going to buy a blackberry device if they (for instance) prefer an iphone, just to get BBM. That wont happen, there are alternatives.
If bbm became available for that iphone though, the customer would use it ofc, giving RIM all the advantages Kevin mentioned.

Secondly, BBM Is a very good messaging app/platform right now, but other developers will try to make something superior. When that happens BEFORE RIM can open up BBM, customers will jump to the new superior app (even blackberry users) and RIM stands with nothing. BBM will be just another missed chance.

To sum it up: Open it up, its a no-brainer. Although RIM should carefully consider how to open it up, how to make money on it, licencing etc. But the question of "should we open bbm or not" isnt a difficult one:)

greetings from Holland;)

Excellent write-up and analysis! I don't necessarily believe that it can be a success though as the execution of such a strategy would take building consensus throughout the board and overall management. If the vision and will is shared, probably they could pull it off and be relevant again.

As for me, with only 3 active contacts on my BBM (who are also on Whatsapp) I didn't feel much pain switching to android (on a temporary basis) and I still have my Playbook. But, I do sure miss my qwerty keyboard.

Very good points, and I agree whole heartedly. I also think RIM needs to get a PC/Mac client going somehow. Bluetooth or USB connection or something to our phones.

Well the app that at least get closer to BBM is eBuddyXMS, it has the Delivered and Read feature that Whatsapp doesnt have.

I RIM wants to do something great then build a blackberry android phone with BBM, push mail, and a physical keyboard.

By doing this people would have a huge directory of apps and also BBM and push mail.

I have a blackberry bold 9900 and an iphone 4.

The only reason I use the bold 9900 is because BBM, if they offer BBM to other phones like the iphone I will never use the bold and I will always use the iphone.

If some day RIM decides to do this it will be the last time you will see a RIM mobile phone.

I agree with the article that RIM should start work on goin X-platform with BBM...Inevitably the competition will catch up and ppl r switching for other reasons anyway. In my country, Jamaica, I believe most ppl r with BB because of d absence of phone plans similar to BIS with othr devices and not because of BBM really! If I had a good alternate phone plan then y wouldn't I just use gtalk on Android intead?? BBM can go x-platform with some paid features and limited user controls for non-BBs..I say work on gettin it x-platform, make BB10 very competitive with specs and features then provided the BB10 reception is gr8, a few mths down d road BBM x-platform launch could happen after the customer base is already settled and in place...

The Ironic part is that having BBM only for BlackBerry just forces me to ditch BBM and use whatsapp. Since they have lost a large share of the market, most of my friends don't have BlackBerry. That being said obviously what they have been doing is not working, so maybe time to change something? I think they should open it up or run the risk of loosing all of the people using BBM to whatsapp.

Lets face it. Nobody buys a BlackBerry for BBM anymore... my contact list went from it's highest point around 88 to the lowest (currently at 8).

BBM needs to go cross-platform to allow us BlackBerry users who are still hanging on some added life.

With BlackBerry's user base decreasing in North America, moving BBM to other platforms appears to be a good move.

If RIM was getting out of the hardware business, this reaching out to other platforms might be a good move. However, unless RIM becomes a software only company, this makes no sense.

I will add, at this point, since RIM's hardware is so well designed and so robust, it makes little sense for them to get out of that business.

I like the exclusiveness of bbm, call me stuck up. RIM needs to release some kick a*s bb10 devices to increase market share but keep bbm exclusive. Thats my take.

Instead of making BBM available to other OS's. Make BBM available to intergrate with other IM's. It must be possable because Linux (open sorce) has a program called Pigin. It can intergrate with multiable IM's. So allowing BBM to except other IM's would be the way to go? This will keep BBM to Blackberry only and BB users will be able to IM anybody on any OS. Through whatever IM anybody is using.

I once read somewhere that for every blackberry using BBM, RIM gets $5 a month for the service from carriers. Thats a lot of cash for a messaging app. Lets just put it simply, if RIM made BBM for my iPhone 4S id pay the extra charges in a heart beat. I loved my BB but it lacked in the ways i wanted to use it. My iPhone is honestly a great phone but BBM is a great service and id be willing to pay for it. I am with a lot of others who also agree with me but dont think its worth giving up the Droid or iPhone for. RIM is a company and a corporation needs to do what can generate the most profit for the shareholders. This move will generate a LOT of revenue that can be used to build better phones with better specs to lure in customers.