Will the masses abandon WhatsApp when BBM goes cross platform?

By Chris Umiastowski on 18 Jul 2013 09:49 am EDT

Yesterday we saw that the very popular cross-platform mobile IM app WhatsApp updated its pricing model for the iPhone. What was once a $0.99 download is now a free download. But it’s only free for the first year, after which the subscription to keep using it costs $0.99 per year.

Is this a good change for WhatsApp? And what does it mean for BlackBerry’s potential to gain customers on cross-platform BBM this summer?  Seems like something worth talking about.

If we look at this pricing move in isolation, I think it would normally be a good thing for WhatsApp. Making the download free rather than charging money is bound to get you more downloads. And paying $0.99 one time versus paying that same amount every year is still peanuts. It’s as close to free as possible without actually being free.

But this isn’t happening in isolation. BBM is about to go cross platform and it’s quite clear that BlackBerry has no intention of charging for the app. At least that’s the expected case for the core feature set. We’ll discuss monetization further down.

Given that BBM will be totally free to use forever, and WhatsApp charges some money (no matter how little), unless WhatsApp is superior, people are likely to look closely at BBM and give it a try. After all, everyone knows that BBM is awesome on a BlackBerry, and many Android and iOS users are former BlackBerry users. They remember BBM and wish they still had access to it.

After all, everyone knows that BBM is awesome on a BlackBerry, and many Android and iOS users are former BlackBerry users

WhatsApp may be the leader in cross-platform IM, but it has one big weakness, and that is tying the account of a user to a phone number. As stated in their FAQ, “If you are permanently changing phone numbers, you can delete your WhatsApp account and then verify your new number.”  Ouch!  So if you change your number you’re basically screwed and you lose all of your contacts. That’s no fun.  Besides, some people just don’t want to give out their mobile phone number.  They’d rather not have it enter into the mobile IM equation.

BBM works by tying your account to a BlackBerry ID (BBID). It’s logical that iOS or Android BBM users will first have to create a BBID, and they’ll then be free to login to BBM from any device of their choosing at any time in the future. And this paves the way to a possible desktop or tablet app as well.

So will people switch to BBM?  I think the switching costs in mobile IM are very low. This is because users have no real investment in content. IM is not like Facebook or Instagram where you may have uploaded tons of pictures. IM is about contacts. And if it’s rather easy to put your contacts into a new chat platform, people will do it. Especially if BlackBerry goes out with big marketing guns. They need to be everywhere promoting the totally free cross-platform BBM.

And of course, BBM has to work flawlessly. It has to be an amazing experience with all of the core functions working perfectly on iOS and Android. Combine that with a price tag of zero, and you’ll soon see BlackBerry press releasing over 100 million BBM users.

And of course, BBM has to work flawlessly

Now let’s talk quickly about monetization. How does a big user base become worth something to BlackBerry?  Ultimately I think it’s the same way that any user base becomes valuable to any company. Facebook didn’t generate revenue initially. Neither did Google or Instagram or to niche-down a bit, popular investment websites like The Motley Fool. They all started as totally free services and then stacked revenue-generating stuff on top.

BlackBerry will probably do the same thing. I don’t expect them to plaster ads in the app. But I do think it makes sense for them to market BlackBerry products to non-BlackBerry users who have a BBM account. And I do think it makes sense for the company to offer premium features to enterprise customers, or charge for certain yet-to-be-released premium consumer features. Or how about BBM channels?  Any chance they can tag in some e-commerce in these and earn a cut of the revenue?  If that’s the case obviously we want users, and we don’t care what device they are on.

There are lots of ways to make money from a big user base. The trick is to first BUILD the user base, and by making the app completely free BlackBerry stands a very good chance of doing this, while stealing customers away from WhatsApp.

Reader comments

Will the masses abandon WhatsApp when BBM goes cross platform?



Just hoping they don't make a pricing scheme like whatsapp. Then they're just shooting themselves in the foot..

A big company like BlackBerry won't charge for their msging app it ll be a turn off. But hey you never know.

Posted via CB10

Why not provide BBM free to all the 1st year and charge Apple/android users for services afterwards. It'll keep the BlackBerry loyalist happy and the quality could be an incentive to get the others to cross over.

Posted via CB10 from my Z10 or PlayBook!

Bbm loyalists will be happy to be able to chat with their non BlackBerry friends using bbm

Posted via CB10

The money is made on BBM money and all the micro enterprise with BBM Channels.
I can't wait to see My BBM Channels providing business consulting for a fee to invited clients.

Posted via CB10

There's not enough features to pull whatsapp subscribers with 1 year free trial. Same features same price structure won't cut it. Now bbm is free for life and when it piles on the video and voice function and remains free, it definitely will. Whatsapp will continue extending free trials but feature wise loses out to bbm. Bbm has to catch up the "lost" 4 years and battle whatsapp, line, kakaotalk, viber, kik, Hangouts...that's a lot of mostly free for life rivals.

It's not about the 99 cents. It's about the differentiation factor, and they need to gather a huge user base before they even think about charging consumers. Apps like whatsapp etc have had a good few years to fill the void in, and people need as many incentives as possible to jump ship, EVEN though BBM is superior in many ways

They better not put ads! I use this for work and play. Can't stand anything with ads

Where's my FULL BRIDGE Mr. Heins? Please return it!

I doubt they will start to charge for messaging like Whatsapp, but they will have other opportunities like BBM money. Imagine if nearly all IM moves to BBM, then they roll BBM money out world wide. Fast, instant, cheap and secure money transfers.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry should just buy WhatsApp. Then there'd be no question.

That would be awesome... "WhatsApp is now BBM"!

Yes, but why would you pay for a user base when you may arguably just take it away. Google wanted to buy WhatsApp for 1Bn. If this purchase was done in cash it would eliminate 1/3 of BlackBerry's cash reserves which I would argue the company would be better served using for marketing BB10, BBM, etc. BlackBerry isn't in an acquisition stage, they are in Phase 2 which entails building out BB10.

Posted via CB10

They will. Whatsapp is not free after a year. BBM is just the king of messaging, video calls (with screen sharing), voice calls, insane instant messaging with live updates and channel. What othe messaging apps got all those. If people dont switch they just hate blackberry cos its blackberry for no reason

Posted via CB10

If others are like me, I will be uninstalling Whatsapp and if people want to chat, they will need to install BBM. I hate having my entire address book on my Whatsapp.

Plus one brother. What's app is the biggest pile of crap I've ever seen. Once BBM goes cross platform that app is going to disappear faster than a bowl of chocolate pudding at Melissa McCarthy's house.

Posted via CB10

What people like about BBM is that they can connect to someone without giving out their phone numbers or email. Back when BBM was popular people would exchange pins at bars or clubs, just do they could remain anonymous and delete the contact whenever they felt like. This was and still is the reason why celebrities still use BBM to communicate. Celebrities don't want to give their personal info to people they have just met. The PIN system is the reason why BBM went viral. I hope Blackberry understands this and keeps it that way.

Posted via CB10

No way what's app is just as good and file transfers in what's app for pictures have more resolution, plus it's easier to add someone while in BlackBerry one needs to send a pin. Bbm is better but what's app stands on its own ground and is very strong.

Posted via CB10

I can put my pin number in a website, I can put it right and not care because I can just block people that I don't want in my contact list but I would NEVER put my phone number in a website, a social network, etc. is just too private.

your BBID is associated with the email you sign up with. you add the BBID email and no need for pin. PIN is just a culture thing and when someone posts pin:ABCD1234 recognizes as a pin and you can add instantly, given its precursed by pin: if someone posts " add my pin ABCD1234 " its a little more tedious. people tend to remember an email because it consists of a few words rather than 8 distinct characters

Bbm is the king of messaging at this point, u can always request for a HQ picture and everything is more private and secure via bbm

Posted from my zeta diez

For your picture issue : when you receive a picture, press and hold the picture and select "request hd" you will obtain the full resolution of the picture :)

Posted via CB10

If they won't be too late to the game, something like that could happen! I'll get all of my friends who don't use a BlackBerry download BBM because I'll delete my WhatsApp.

Posted via CB10

Same. As soon as BBM goes cross platform, I'm deleting Whatsapp and never looking back :)

Posted via CB10

And I think you guys may be lonely. I think people, especially young people aren't going to be keen to switch to BBM when they know and mostly like what they have.

Why would you not want to switch to a platform that is free, more secure and has better features? But you're probably right, people will want to stick with an inferior product..

Posted via CB10

You obviously have not met most (American) teenagers or 50-75% of the adult population. If what they have is OK and working and set up, they aren't going to make the effort to switch over for incremental gains in quality, assuming that turns out to be the case. Adult, former BBM users may be another story, but I am not sure getting just them to switch over, even if they do, is worth the effort.

Thank you! I think as you look deeper into BB10 sales issue as well as WP. The thing you'll notice is most people wont switch unless something is really wrong with what they have or there is some feature that is just way ahead of it's time. BBM is neither.

For teenagers forget it since they are on Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp. People like my wife 41 wont waste the time unless a lot of her contacts are already there.

This is rich. So what you're basically saying is that people don't care about feature set and product innovation. If one product is superior to another, people will notice, no matter if they're 15 or 35. You cannot honestly tell me that people don't value a better product offering. So if you logic is correct, Facebook would never take over MySpace because people "liked what they had". You're argument that people are just content with WhatsApp is garbage. People are always looking for a better product, whether it be phones, apps, etc.

Posted via CB10

Honestly. For what silliness it may seem to some, they NEED to add little things like Emoji, etc to BBM... BlackBerry needs to grow it's base. They have to. These teens like Whatsapp and others, and part of the reason is the slew of little kitty icons they can send. watch them use them sometimes. I'll see them spend two minutes picking one instead of typing a word.

BlackBerry needs to add more. And not in the future. Apple added the keyboard built in... Unfortunately my apple friends text me little squares. it night seem silly, but these "little thongs" mean a lot when trying go grow. Especially in a new area. If it's purely business needs centred it won't appeal to the unwashed masses! Style over substance. BlackBerry needs to add more style to their already better substance.

Or maybe I'm crazy. It's possible.

Posted via CB10

I will tell you that a platform with n o access to Instagram or Netflixs has zero chance with the 14-21 crowd in the US.

Businesses, educated consumers and other thoughtful people might make the switch, but I think you are giving my kids and the average consumer way too much credit. BBM will not be earth shattering and thus, they won't go thru the hassle of moving. It has zero "it" or X factor and is seen as uncool. I haven't seen anything BBRY proposes that will motivate this broad swath of the buying public to migrate over. It's group speak and they need to get momentum to get friends of users to switch over.

Sadly, I think My Space and BBRY have a lot in common in that they were both leaders and failed to innovate and read the market properly and got left behind. WhatsApp may fail too, but I seriously doubt it is going to be BBM that takes it out.

This is true, but we all know that better doesn't always result in success. Myspace failed because it was faulty. People didn't like it. Lots of complaints. It was broken. People like Whats App, it works, and does well at what it does. And $0.99 a year is something most people won't blink at. I'll likely download BBM for nostalgia sake but since even my BB toting friend (yes singular) is using Whats App, I won't be convincing all my other android and ios friends to switch. If Whats App sucked, yes we'd all be waiting with baited breath, but fact is it doesn't.

BBM is late to the game again. This coming from a former loyalist.

Agreed! I'm less concerned with paying .99 once, or even every year... if the people I want to contact are not on BBM... I can't use it, even if I want to!

As for features... we need to see just what BBRY is willing to give users for free. And how well the app is integrated into the OS. If it is just an app, then it will really be hard for them to shine. Both iOS and Android have their own messaging apps that are integrated as well as some of the other big players.

Most of the people that transfer to other devices still love bbm. Ask anybody from other platform and they will say bbm is the best thing when it comes to messaging

Posted from my zeta diez

There is a whole generation of users that were never on BBM and never will be. They won't know what they are missing but htey won't care.

A) They will realize what their missing if others around them are using a superior platform B) I think they would care about the difference in quality of their experience over BBM. The value of a messaging platform is derived from the network effect it creates. The theory that the more users you have (the larger your network), the more valuable the network. Facebook is a great example of a platform that is extremely valuable because of their network. The question is, can BlackBerry increase their network to the point where it is so valuable to its users that the switching costs are too high to use other platforms. I would argue that even WhatsApp with 250M users has not reached that point and may see users leave to BBM for that reason. The flip side of that is that BlackBerry is definitely not there with their 60M user base. To sum up, the next fews years should establish a true winner in the multi-platform messaging space, and BBM has a fair chance of being that winner given WhatsApp has not reached the "critical amount" of users required to sustain their leading position.

Posted via CB10

Fair enough. Unfortunately BB itself is generally considered uncool in the US. I don't own a single Apple product, but my wife and kids all have iphones. All of their friends do as well. I know there are many other socioeconomic groups and markets where BB many still be the standard and emerging, and there I think BBM has a shot.

I don't disagree with your premise, I just doubt the intellect of the users they are trying to win over and doubt,at least as much, BBRY's ability to do this in a timely and proper way. We shall see!

I see you're point too. Personally I'm Canadian so it's hard for me to gauge BlackBerry's popularity and position in the US. Obviously Canadians have a different mind set on BlackBerry given the company's roots in the country. We shall see, I think if BBM does happen to do well it could actually go a long way in building back the brand in the US. I sure hope they put they're best management in charge of US operations (given the shakeup that just occurred), because although the US may not be the biggest market in 20 years (China, perhaps India), I honestly believe it is were most tech products proliferate from. Great discussion though. Really wish there was the ability to up and down vote comments (emailed CrackBerry about this today).

Posted via CB10

Add more exclamation points, why don't you. If 100,000 people downloaded a fake BBM app, I don't think BBM will have any issues being adopted by iOS and Android users.

That's where the issue is. Only 100k people tried to download the app. It would have been a whole other story if there had been 5 million or 10 million attempts. The number 100k should tell u that BBM is a hasbeen.

Posted via CB10 from BB Z10

Hell yessssss... a lot of ppl gunna get rid of Kik also once bbm comes out... :) can't wait to have friends on bbm again

Posted via CB10

One thing is for sure from my perspective - WhatsApp is coming off my phone for battery life alone as soon as BBM is available for iOS and Android.

Posted via CB10

They should price it BBM is 100 times better in my opinion. I say give everyone a taste when released and for a full version charge, why not. everyone else is doing it. Lets be honest BBM has made a name for itself; when you ask someone what about BBRY do they know first thing they will tell you is BBM. I say give a taste and charge for all the features.

BBM made a name for itself back in the day, but Rim took it down. Anything associated with BlackBerry products are not well received by the masses...i love blackberry but that's just the way it is. I was sooo pumped for the release of Z10 in hopes it would be a game changer for the company, but unfortunately too little too late. The Z10 should have been released way back instead of the first storm, they would have held off ios and android

Posted from my amazing Z10

Agreed. I loved BBM. Once upon a time when I was a crackberry fiend. Everyone I know used to be on BBM. Now I have 1 BB hold out. Everyone else is on android or ios, including me. And majority of them are on Whats App. My youngest sister (12 years my junior) doesn't even know what a blackberry is. Definitely too little too late. I doubt even I will try BBM if they charge more than the $0.99 Whats App does.

I was an early Storm adopter and actually liked it, but then they released nothing for years. I moved to android and never looked back.

Don't be overconfident. WhatsApp has the advantage of not adding any contacts, PIN or taking barcode phones. All you need is the other person's telephone number in your contact book. The new BBM needs to make it easier to add contacts and solicit downloads.

The user will need to create a bbid. But that is way better giving out you phone number also I don't think the bbid is required to be your email address. Someone correct me if I'm wrong

Posted via CB10

This guy knows what's up. Whatsapp integrates without the user having to lift a finger. I'd rather everyone use BBM, but whatsapp is so so easy.

This is the key. My friend a girl downloaded Whats App and was solicited by guys for weeks. She canned Whats App and changed her phone number

Posted via CB10

For sure, everyone I know used to love and use BBM so once they see it on their new 'fancy' phones they'll get excited.

Posted via CB10

I will definitely ditch WhatsApp when BBM comes to iPhone and Android.

I plan on inviting all my contacts to BBM so they can really enjoy the best IM platform.

Posted via CB10

I disagree, I think the best thing about whatsapp is that it ties the user to a phonenumber! Importing contacts has never been easier imo!

Except that when one of your friends changes numbers, and their number gets assigned to another person... unless you delete the old number, that new random person will be in your 'favorites' list. I've actually had this happen twice with friends that moved and had basically been using a pay-as-you-go phone.

I agree that it makes it easy to add (you don't do anything), but because it's so easy... people might be aware to the fact that they need to manage it properly. BBID is much better once you get over the initial 'adding' hurdle.

Posted via CB10

but if it's a friend wouldn't he/she tell you the new number, so you'll delete the old one? It's natural human behavior imo. And the initial 'adding hurdle' is the biggest hurdle BB will have to overcome. Cause BBM is 100% a better IM app, but having a sign up process that's a hassle is gonna hurt them.

My friends change e-mail addresses much more often than their tel #'s. Unfortunately getting people to work a little harder up front to get a better experience in the end is lost on a lot of people. I am not sure BBM will get them over the hump.

Yeah in whatsapp i've had random spam once in a blue moon, so yeah its not enough to make me think PIN is better than phonenumber

The one thing that concerns me is BB server outages in places like SE Asia, Africa and Europe. They need to manage/improve their infrastructure. Imagine if they have outages with 60 million users, what it could be like with 200 - 300 million users.

Absolutely true BBM will have to ensure that they are able to handle the 200 or 300 million users & still be able to offer the same level of service. This is very important for the success of BBM.

Posted via CB10

I don't think people will use WhatsApp when bbm comes out, due to the fact that people don't like to give out there phone #'s to people they don't know that well.

Posted via CB10

they only will if they can do more with BBM than with WhatsApp, if they can't do that then they are screwed

Posted via CB10

Whatsapp is like any other messaging app. You will always have dedicated users who live off of it, but over time, they may use it a little less when BBM Makes it's way to other platforms. To say that BBM would kill off competing apps is highly presumptuous. It's a great service, and I love it, but it may not be for everyone. The success of cross platform BBM is dependent on time and operation.

Posted via CB10

Still a high mountain to climb! I wish bbm will kill whatsapp and the only im we are using is bbm. Yeah image resolution is way better on whatsapp. Bbm should do something about this little things to improve.

Posted via CB10

Sorry, my answer is NO, unless my friends start use back BBM.
Actually, my BBM contact list just have 1 friend now (and 2 others are my Boss), so I don't even ever open BBM after I upgrade to BB10

Posted via CB10 from Q5

Whatsapp has always stated they charge 0.99 for the first year but they've never really enforced it. I seriously doubt they'll move to a pay structure especially with BBM coming into the picture.

People don't normally change their phone number. I'm guessing maybe 10% of people actually change it. Most just transfer it with them when they change carriers.

True WhatsApp has always been saying that they will charge but till today they have yet to start charging.

Posted via CB10

If it works anything like it does on BlackBerry phones then I think everyone will jump ship in a heart beat. I know i'll be removing WhatsApp once BBM goes cross platform, its the best or nothing lol but it does have to be the best.

Hmmmm. The fact that BBM won't have all the featutes at initial release will definitely not work in BBMs favour, especially since they all exist on WhatsApp. BlackBerry needs to go hard at once, instead of slow and catchup technique!

Posted via CB10

I think the biggest thing is BBM groups. It sucks trying to have a group across all platforms. This will be my main selling point for all my friends to download it. Anything from my fantasy football league to my beach volleyball league it would be perfect. They should definitely throw the group stuff in a commercial to advertise instead of fluffy features like screen share and video. Groups is more practical.

Posted via CB10

What's mentioned as their weakness is also their strong point in a way. Because once u download u automatically have a friend list ready. Contrary in bbm u have to build up year friend list. N for BlackBerry phones u have pin, what's the process for droids n ios Is still to be figured out. Anyways I think feature wise bbm will b all IM killer .

Posted via CB10 for Z10

It's like asking, did people abandon iPhone OS and Android when BB10 came out, I think it's more of a personal preference at this level.

Posted via CB10

Is there any way U.S. carriers can be delaying it here?
Trying to figure out a way to charge, limit or anything else?

Posted via CB10

I'd wish. But recommending any Blackberry product to friends is laughable at this point. Even though it's probably superior to WhatsApp, it requires many folks to use it for a switch. However, that is an illusion at this point.

Posted via CB10

I just see no compelling reason for anyone on another platform to join BBM, sure it may work a little better but how much? WHats the reason? How many Blackberry users do I want to talk to? not many...as a Blackberry user I have 2 BBM contacts that I know personally and communicate with..

Not a chance. They allowed whatsapp to get too big and too ingrained. I once had over 350 people on bbm. I now have 2. Was 3 until 2 months ago, but he bailed to whatsapp. 85% of my friends, family and colleagues now use whatsapp and have for almost a year. The rest use Skype.

Bbm lost its "cool" factor when BlackBerry lost it. I like features of bbm more, but not by a lot. Adding contacts in whatsapp outweighs bbm video for myself and most of contacts. When I tell friends bbm is coming to iPhone and Android, it's met with total indifference.

I'd be shocked if my contact list in bbm hit 25 people by Xmas. Hope I'm wrong though.

Posted via CB10

Overall BBM is a better experience so it should do better, what happens though is up to the masses. I know I will do my best to get people on it but who knows if teens, and adults alike want the hassle of changing

Posted via CB10

There is one small fly in the ointment, which I think might stop a mass exodus to BBM ( if and when it goes to ios/android). As I understand it, initially at least, it's only going to be the core messaging service. Video chat, file transfers etc will "come later". Why would anybody (especially people who have never used BBM) want to swap to a lesser (in the early stages at least) service?

This here. I completely agree. They're going to release BBM with minor services. If people can't send their pics of fluffy, their new craft that looks nothing like what it was supposed too, and their drunken friends... people will open whatsapp instead.

Posted via CB10

Nobody will switch if BBM is priced. BlackBerry needs to keep it free for everybody, because if I was on an iOS device and BlackBerry was charging me. 99cents I wouldn't pay for it. I'm student, and I'm sure my friends wouldn't pay for it either. Keep it free, and easy and BlackBerry will get the users back.

Posted via CB10

I sure as hell hope so. Marketing is key otherwise many might not even know that BBM is available to them. BBM is leaps and bounds ahead of whatsapp, whatsapp is so simple, can't do much, and I hate that my number has to be tied to an app. I don't like whatsapp, always have. I will be telling everyone to get it as soon as its available. I'll be glad to have everyone on my BBM! It's so much better than texting.

Posted via CB10 using my flick-ity keyboard :D.

Unfortunately BB' Marketing management team sucks donkey balls. They have so far botched everything BB10 and Thirsten Howel over there should be escorting them off the premises.

Tricky to say the least. Unless WhatsApp collapses, I don't see millions of WhatsApp users switching over to BBM. BlackBerry needs to attract new users somehow and play on their curiosities and convince the IM user and his/her friends to switch over. Not easy when most of your contacts are already using WhatsApp. It will be a slow rate of change at best.

As soon as BBM goes cross platform I'd be sending one of those broadcast that ppl would send when they're leaving BBM saying you could get them on whatsapp but this time it will be me saying I'm leaving whatsapp if you need me you can find me on BBM :D

Posted via CB10

They should don't this quick and not waste too much time
In my eyes bbm is way better then whatsapp, also it looks cleaner and more polished, if they can shift 1/4 of whatsapp customers alone, I think eventually the rest will follow
If they can pull it off, it would be awesome

Posted via CB10

I honestly only have one contact on WhatsApp and that is because she is currently over in England otherwise I just text everyone and noone really uses WhatsApp. I know iMes is somewhat popular but I think that has something to do with it looking just like texts on the iPhone and the phone doing it automatically so people don't really care for it.

The good thing with BBM is people have fond memories of it so hopefully with good marketing people will give it a shot cause currently I have 0 BBM contacts :( lol

I think key is the Marketing muscle..
If they put the dollars behind, then it has a very good chance of topping whatsapp...
Whatsapp interface is ugly as hell.

Posted via CB10

Both BBM and WhatsApp user here. While most of my friends are in WhatsApp I doubt how many will change to BBM even after it goes cross platform.

Things that I think will make BBM stand the competition with WhatsApp after BBM goes cross platform.

1) BBM needs to allow us send pictures in full resolution, sending a photo taken with 5MP camera needs to retain the resolution after it gets transferred to my friend. So does the ability to send large files which we can do with WhatsApp bu not with BBM

2) There should not be additional charges for using BBM , I am already paying data charges but if an additional BB Plan is needed to get BBM working on iOS and Android I dont see why people will move to BBM.

Yes Sir, I am still a legacy BB user. Its good that BB10 does not need a specific plan. Hope that happens to cross platform BBM too. And BBM should really do something with the file size limit.

BTW freaking do it....dont wait forever...every day lost is going to make it even more difficult....stop wasting time on Channels...you can always bring it later

Posted via CB10

Hi Chris,
I also think their way to monetize BBM will be the channels. In order to do so, they have to:
a) Increase the user base, obviously
b) proper marketing explaining that the user base reached through BBM channels has a bigger spending capacity than Instagram, FB, et. al. (assuming it is so, what I really think)
c) the frequency how BBM users interact through the platform (the slides shown at BlackBerry Live in May...)
d) This one is crucial: A coordinated instant release of the Channels on all platforms! They have to consider that their retailer for this service are media/ad/PR-agencies. The biggest USP for a new service like this one is: you will reach X millions of very active users with high buying power instantaneously from Date XX.YY.ZZZZ (hoping the Zs stand for 2013 :)!

Remember when Instagram added the videos? See here an article asking media agencies what they thought about it... here the link:

BUT, to achieve this, if the user experience isn't the absolute top, they don't even have to bother with it...

Posted via CB10

Not sure why I downloaded what's app to begin with....it sucks and I never use it. Long live BBM!

Sent from the future on my Z10.

In a company phones are flip flopped all the time and this is beyond annoying when trying to use WhatsApp.

BBM needs to offer 60 days full version free, then have an annual fee for the full package. During the free period users should have classy ads that encourage the full use package with a BlackBerry phone. Hopefully by this time

Posted securely by BlackBerry Z10

it will be better, Whatsapp doesnt have voice or video chat, that alone is enough for BBM to succeed,.

I think the better question is "Will the masses abandon BB when BBM goes cross platform".
I've been a loyal BB user since the 957 pager, and briefly switched over to Android and used a GS3 for a few months. I came back to BB with the Z10 and to be brutally honest, the only thing keeping me on BB now is the BB10 Hub. If Android ever reached that level of notification and messaging integration I'd have to seriously think about moving to Android permanently.

Honestly you didn't really explore the new OS so far... be a but more curious and you will change your opinion as I did too (and the Z10 is my first BlackBerry I ever had)

Posted via CB10

Yeah, no. I've had the Z10 Since Feb 22nd and I have installed every new leak Kris has released. I'd say I am a BlackBerry expert and if someone as loyal as myself is saying what I'm saying, things don't look good.

By this time BlackBerry will have generated significant revenue and user base that they will have all the big apps that everyone wants.

Posted securely by BlackBerry Z10

Features needed for enterprise and consumers:
-conference calls, including video
-desk top and lap top versions
-file/picture transfer/sharing

The problem is they're taking too damn long to release it! I will definitely get all my friends to use BBM

Posted via CB10

Here is the big problem with BBM. Unlike WhatsApp where it parses through your address book to find like user, BBM required you to manually ask contacts for their pin and add them. Unless BB can make this process easier, it will be an uphill battle to get users to switch over. JMHO

The problem with Whatsapp is that it's impossible to actually really delete someone, unless you block them but they'll still be able to call you and see your statuses, the link between IM and phone contacts shouldn't be that tight.

Posted via CB10

Thor. You have a Platinum opportunity here. I truly hope you and your Management Team recognize that fact.

Please do not come to market with half an app.

For BBM to succeed cross platform, it requires "wow" factor: ie...Full Video - Full Voice & Channels...all bundled up as the most secure - full bodied IM on the planet! And MARKETED as Such.!!!

The upside is by doing so, you will very likely entice iOS/Droid users to seriously consider a switch to BB10.

Going in half baked - you risk Permanently losing any chance of increasing overall market share for BB.

DilBit Powered Q10... 10.2 where ya 2 bye??

No, cross platform BBM is too late. The masses do not like blackberry, bbm will be the same. May have worked 3 years ago

Posted from my amazing Z10

They say it coming out this summer....guess what it won't be long and the summer will be done. I'm guessing it will be in the fall.

Posted via CB10

I don't know about you guys. But I'm scared for blackberry. Do they have enough servers for millions of people making a video call?

I use whatsapp a ton. I need groups. I need pics and video inline, big ones like 100mb. I think whatsapp limits videos to like 6mb and that's more than anyone else I've found. BBM needs to be better than that on release. Also I want to be able to add SMS contacts like I could when I had BBM 5 on my bold. That way I can dump GoSMS too. Video calling would be okay but I don't see the point of voice calling. I use like 17 minutes a month, hate talking on the phone.

Agree with attachment sizes. 6MB on BBM was a pain - I could rarely share music right away, I'd have to get to a PC, downsample it to some ridiculously low bit rate, send it back to my BB and send it off through BBM. Now I just share it straight through WhatsApp on my SG3.

If BBM goes cross platform with Call and Video... Yes

If not, the migration will be slow.

Whatsapp is more established right now but you have to give the user a reason to switch. Text is not enough.

Whats app would be a gone app once bbm comes on android and ios, guys once u use D & R with super cool voice and video chat, back up, restore history and many more.

Am gonna bet bbm will charge $0.99 year after making people addict & then churn some millions in profits.

Bbm rocks :)

Posted via CB10

Chris, you are exactly right. BBM will attract more users than any platforms because it is secure. Before house get build, the foundations are the most importance. When you have the foundation structure very well then you start build a house. BBRY will find ways to make money out of BBM just like Google make money from Youtube and Google search. I think they will make money from BBM Channel.

Whatsapp is on windows and Nokia. Bbm is just bbry ios and some androids. Hardly a true cross platform. That will make a difference.

Posted via CB10

Did someone noticed that whatsapp has the advantage of sharing bigger files than BBM? BBRY got to work on this also!

Posted from my Z10 via CB10

I think the demand for BBM will be there. My main concern is what Umi touched on in his article, "of course it has to be flawless". BlackBerry will have one shot with BBM. It will be heavily scrutinized. BlackBerry needs to make sure BBM is as close to perfect as it can be before launch. It can't be like the Twitter or BlackBerry BB10 apps developed by BlackBerry which had problems and then were improved over time.

Posted via CB10 on BlackBerry Q10

Whatapp freezes my BB10 and Skype is just down right awful for BB10. Many of my friends will be switching to BBM. BBM is the best IM app hands down.

Posted via CB10

It's all about how they execute it. You are right Chris, it has to be flawless. The NOC must be able to handle the volume of traffic after bbm goes cross platform. It has to have 99.9999% up time.

Posted via CB10

Not a problem.

The load has been greatly reduced...

1) Most BB10 devices are not on BES and there isn't a BIS anymore, so other than a little BBM traffic BB10 devices don't us the NOC.
2) Pre BB10 devices are dropping off the network VERY quickly.

Load is not going to be the problem

I think that the only unfortunate thing about cross platform BBM is that it isn't here yet. Now really was the time to release it, so that there would be something for BlackBerry to celebrate between quarterly reports, and during the summer months when loads if young mobile users are on holidays.

Still, if executed well, BBM has the potential to save BlackBerry in the short term. It can go a long distance towards getting BlackBerry in people's hearts and minds again, and put the BlackBerry logo on everyone's phone, which won't hurt. Once there is a large enough base of users, there is also no reason why BBM can't take on Facebook as a social networking/media forum. A lot of people are getting sick of the invasiveness of Facebook, and if BBM can offer all the same profile sharing advantages, without the lack of privacy, that could be hugely powerful. Obviously that would have to be a medium term goal, but I really do think that that option is wide open for BBM and BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

I think ppl will definitely switch from whatsapp to bbm once it goes cross platform. Every single one of my friends had a blackberry and was obsessed with bbm until the iphone went to different carriers other then att.

Via my White Q10

A cross-platform BBM needs the initial login to be synced with FB, Twitter to gain immediate contacts. Instagram does that, and it works!

Posted via CB10

Don't know about masses like most things it will take time a log time.But I think it will still have users for a long while.The real question is how quick will BBM pick up.

Please don't charge for WHATSAPP because I use it daily and love it. Most of my friends do not use BBM. If both apps are free then I would love my BlackBerry Z10 more.

Posted via CB10

i would normally say bbm would dominate it for sure, but it does need some improvement. Whatassp can transfer files up to 16 mb and it's pretty fast. BBM needs to up it from 6mb to something like 25mb

Was really hoping to see this change for BB10, BB needs to fix this ASAP in order for CP BBM to properly compete with instagram video and snap chat.

The answer is sooo easy... BBM will be the #1 choice for everyone around the world!!

#BB10Believe #KeepMoving #BB10Army #BB10Freak #TeamBlackberry #BlackBerryNation

I'm MongezaurioBerry

If they execute the launch well and are prepared to support BBM with the same "world class" service they provide now, but to as many cross platform clients as possible, without sacrificing one bit of quality.

Huge opportunity to capitalize on the greatness that is BBM. It is so good. BlackBerry maintains just as high quality service as it is now - they can't lose. It's the pinnacle of IM. It needs to be just as high end on the cross platform video and voice chat as well.

Will be very interesting to witness. I'm thinking success.

Posted via CB10

I can easily convince my handfull of whatsapp contacts to abandon it on day one.

Nobody has loyalty to whatsapp, people use it because it works

Posted via CB10

I think they should bring back better quality display pics. Why do I remember display pictures being a huge part of bbm, now when I go back to my ghost town of a list the pics are all low quality

Posted via CB10

What he said. I can't even say I like whatsapp but it works for me. About every 3 months or so I search around and try other messaging services to see if they work better for me and for the last year or so it's gone back to whatsapp. I want BBM to win but it has to fit my needs at least as good as whatsapp.

I think the big problem is the assumption that "everyone knows BBM is awesome on Blackberry". Most of the non-Blackberry users I know don't have any idea what it is or that it exists. I do think former Blackberry users will embrace it though. For it to take off, they need to make it free and step up the marketing so people know about it. Unfortunately, market isn't Blackberry's strong suit so this could be an uphill battle.

All of my friends that used to be on BlackBerry are now using whatsapp... and all are waiting for the bbm release and ready to ditch whatsapp as soon as they can upgrade to messaging champ... long live BBM =D

Posted via CB10

I say yes. Especially blackberry customers who use WhatsApp to keep tabs on their friends on iPhone, Android etc. Let's be honest here. That's why they use it. Lol

Posted via CB10

It's too late for BBM in my circle. Everyone uses WhatsApp now. There is no reason to change what works.

Posted via CB10

I think the most important part is that it's executed flawlessly. As far as I'm seeing with BB, they're comfortable releasing some seriously half-a$$ed user interface and ultimately the user experience and that's including BB10. I don't believe that's even up for debate. Just look at the complaints in the forums (not including Playbook and carrier problems).

It's gonna be good to finally get some friends back on BBM. It's gonna be a smart marketing tool to help spread that word of mouth, which seems to be BlackBerry's only advertising "investment".

Whatsapp was dead the minute BBM said cross platform. They oughta cash out now. Then again, same was said about Blackberry and Apple at one point. As a business person, im eager to see how they maneuver.

Posted via CB10

LOL at your "word of mouth, which seems to be BlackBerry's only advertising "investment" comment. That seems so true. I 100% agree about what you said with execution. There can't be a single hiccup when this launches, BB is going to be under a microscope like never before.

I think what will kill every other IM app is BB bringing cross platform video chat. If they can manage that flawlessly which I don't see why not then I believe BB can see some users coming back to BB OS.

WhatsApp has prided this way long ago. They have not done it just yesterday. I am a BlackBerry and iPhone user and have WhatsApp in both. WhatsApp threatens to charge me then as it draws close it is automatically renewed with no charge. This has happened to me a few times. Re BBM I am not sure how BlackBerry is going to price it for non- BlackBerry users and what the identification process would be. BBID is unique to BlackBerry ponds. Android and iPhone a don't have them and that is what always made BBM so unique and simple. I enjoy BBM the most. WhatsApp is unreliable at times ad late as today when important WhatsApp messaged of mine to my brother who is also my business partner went undelivered. BBM also faced the issue though not this often.

Posted via CB10

Ppl who left BB still remember when changing phones the process of transferring BBM Contacts was a hassle, until they came out with the "first BBM update" with BBOS 5
They'll need to make it dead simple to sign up & save contacts in the cloud

At BB Live Thorston said "Free BBM Cross platform" and that's what it'll be
They later explained that ios/droid will get the 'basic' features (Chat/Groups & maybe voice calls) for free
Screen sharing / video chat / BBM Channels will be in the first upgrade hopefully in Jan 2014 & that's where they plan to charge for the service

I personally heard from many friends former BB users that they'd pay a monthly fee (ie .99) for a full baked BBM experience, let's just hope they price it right...

They should have launched with video chat. I think people will download CP BBM at launch and see that there are no real feature advantages over what they already have and delete BBM the same day. In my opinion video chat is the make it or break it feature of BBM. They may as well just delay launch until video chat is ready.

Chris wrote: "After all, everyone knows that BBM is awesome on a BlackBerry, and many Android and iOS users are former BlackBerry users. They remember BBM and wish they still had access to it."

Where are you getting all this from?

I think it's a safe bet. The people who left BlackBerry had to go somewhere right? Despite what you think brand recognition goes a long way. Maybe not long enough to pick up a new BB device, but definitely long enough to support BBM.

It could be that the vast majority of Android and IOS users never used a BB, as opposed to "many" Android and IOS users are former BB users.

There is a whole generation of users that never used a BB and think it is an old person's phone. They are driving a lot of buying decisions in families. Don't underestimate this void in the BB potential user base. I won't say they are lost forever, but they are going to be very hard to get to leave Droid or an iThing. They don't know anything about BB and BBM will have to be perfect and special to cause them to switch.

From current iPhone and Android users, because they understand the value and security BBM offers along with the speed of the messages sent and received.

Too little, too late.

Whatsapp is only $0.99 for lifetime service and most people, that I know anyway, are all using Skype and that's free, with video and calling in it and is readily available on all platforms. Did I mention it was free?

You didn't read the article did you? It's the second sentence.

"What was once a $0.99 download is now a free download. But it’s only free for the first year, after which the subscription to keep using it costs $0.99 per year."

BBM is not doing anything new, there are a lot of cross platform messaging app that sing the 'free for life' song yet failed where WhatsApp succeed (kick, live profile, Facebook messenger etc). The fact that it is tied to ur number is not necessarily a disadvantage like you put it. One of WhatsApp appeal is that all you need to do is install and it's populate your contact list automatically. People will install BBM to stay in touch with blackberry users, hence if Blackberry (BB10) fails BBM will go down with it.

Posted via CB10

Having your number displayed in whatsapp may not be a bad thing for you but it is for me & the majority as well i believe.

If you change your phone number with What's App, it's "No fun" having to enter contacts, but if you are going to switch to BBM, "And if it’s rather easy to put your contacts into a new chat platform, people will do it." No bias there eh Chris?

I will be abandoning WhatsApp, and I would count down the days if I knew when I would be able to do so.

BBM is better than Whatsapp IMO. BBM is in my opinion the best messaging setup out to date. BlackBerry can gain Millions upon Millions of more users if they play there cards right. This should be for free to everybody.

"Will the masses abandon WhatsApp..."

Certainly, they will.
Same masses that have abandoned millions of iPads in favour of Playbooks.
I guess so.

No more Whatsapp for me when BBM goes cross platform. I will be a huge seller of BBM instead to the friends I have on Whatsapp.

Posted via Q10

Chris, you are absolutely right that BBM will attract new users to BB products.

Many former BB users will come back if only for BBM on their current phone.
We hear all the time for Z10 and Q10 users that they have nobody anymore to send BBM. Sad.
BUT, with BBM on other devices things will or may change.

Things are changing very fast in the phone market.
Almost all the newest smart phones are catching up with the similar features. The only differences in the near future is the package (such as screen size).

The phone companies are therefore changing their marketing to ''network use'' rather than the phone used. Therefore, in the future BB will have a chance to get some of their phone users back, if only as an idea fostered by BBM.

''Screen share'' will not be initially be available to other than BB OS10 users. I don't know how important it is, but, that is a plus for some users of other phone models, to at least think about getting a BB OS10 phone.

Hay, how about BBM for PLAYBOOK? I hope.

If we can transfer big data like long vids and other extra futures that WA has already, then probably yes! I'm BB owner and i love BBM but as no one of my connections has one, i use WA. 

BBM is going to become it's own business unit in BlackBerry. I read (forget where) that BBRY is hoping to further integrate BBM into their BES EIM offering. Having it cross-platform and as an EIM will help adoption. Keeping it free will outweigh WhatsApp, since most people got WhatsApp when it was free and refuse to pay into it yearly. Monetization may come from Channels, advertising, as well as integration of BBM Money. All-in-all, if executed well, and on time, this move has more pro's than cons for BBRY. Adoption will not be immediate, and people will complain, but it will come; WhatsApp took some time to ramp up, as well.

BBM is top notch. The only other service that comes close, or rather came close was Yahoo IM. BBM Rawks!

I use a BlackBerry because it makes sense

Why should people give up whatsapp that works flawless for another app that does the same? (and even if it can do more, it's not that more to get them out of their known environment.)

People will think "why should I use blackberry messenger? I don't have blackberry." and stay with what's app.

And seriously, no one leaves an environment they are familiar with for 99 cents.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see people using it and I'm gonna try to convince my friends to switch. That way I would be able to actually try bbm for the first time (I don't have any contacts on bbm)

I think it will be really difficult to be honest. But let's see.

Posted via CB10

I don't think there'll be a problem persuading people to switch.

There are still 70 million people on BlackBerry. It may take a while for full market penetration in the US, but elsewhere in the world I imagine they'll become number one in just a few weeks.

And that doesn't take account of any enterprise service they may offer.

BBM can't beat whatsapp

Whatsapp covers more platforms and will be more stable than bbm and more users on whatsapp and no need to memorize pins

Posted via CB10

1-it will eventually be on all platforms
2- BBM Is more stable than whatsapp and if they can get it out to other platforms just the way it is on BlackBerry devices (witch YOU DON'T KNOW AT THIS TIME) it will be a hit.
3- users will follow as the roll out to the different platforms goes.

Your point is ?

Posted via CB10

BBM has been using BlackBerry ID for some time - no pins required.

And BBM has the advantage of a massive network infrastructure and a secure platform.

Something I really can't stand about whatsapp is the fact that u can only be associated with one phone at a time. I always switch from z10 to q10 and have to always re register! Also don't work on iPad or tablet.

Posted via CB10

I don't see it happening overnight. And I sure as heck don't see it happening till the advanced features come into play (screen sharing, video/voice calls).

If they can do those fast enough, there will be no stopping BBM from total takeover.

Yes, but only if BBM actually upgrades and riddens itself of it's flaws, no blurry display images, being able to add a background picture to the chat screen, profile picture cropping (done RIGHT) bringing back the old Chat History feature and not this horrible BB10 chat history and so on!!

Posted via CB10

I would not be surprised if they don't... BlackBerry is just too fscking slow in releasing things...

iOs, Android and BlackBerry is excellent but in order for me to completely get rid of WhatsApp they would need to also come out with a Windows Phone version of BBM. Until the two Windows Phone contacts I have switch platforms or BBM is on Microsoft Windows Phone I will continue to use WhatsApp.

Can BB please find a way to bring cross platform video chat to BBM. I think if BB wants to be taken seriously and if they want to make big numbers fast they will need to make CP video chat asap. I don't see it being a big success without it.

Just make it free for life and grow the BBM base. Put ads for new phones in app (BBM channels)

BlackBerry will be the only hardware company with a cross platform messenger.

Posted via CB10

Needless to say that BBM Is way ahead Of the pack in terms of features, reliably & security. However being superior does not guarantee success. Most devices with superior technology has lost out to their inferior competitors like Palm & Blackberry to iPhone and iPhone to Android.

More than 95% of my friends are on WhatsApp & they have never used BBM so convincing them to switch is going to be difficult.

I believe that marketing will be most important to ensure success. Other than that BlackBerry may also consider cross communication with other I'm applications like WhatsApp or even WeChat. Making BBM a social network will also help.

Posted via CB10

But they don't have to switch. It's free. So they download the BBM app and run it alongside WhatsApp at first.

If they're truly friends anyway ;-)