Following our post covering the recent issues that have come up with BBM users switching devices, Alex Thurber, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of the Mobility Solutions Division at BlackBerry, took to the Inside BlackBerry blog to lay out exactly what changed with BBM this week and why the changes were made.
First, to our very loyal users we are sorry for any confusion this week. Thank you for being patient and allowing us to set the record straight on the details and user impact necessitated by the coming split of BBM into three separate services: BBM Enterprise for all devices; BBM Consumer for BBOS and BB10; and BBM Consumer for Android, iOS and Microsoft devices.
Why We Are Making Changes: For several years, BBM has been serving two very distinct and different audiences: enterprise customers, many of whom require military-grade security for their text, voice and video conversations; and consumer users interested in a free service that offers sticky features like games, shopping, music, news, payments and more.
Today, BlackBerry is a cybersecurity leader offering enterprises a complete range of software and services that comprehensively protect mission-critical data, networks, and communications. Because BBM is also serving the personal needs of millions of users globally, we recognized the need for a strategic partner who is focused on delivering a rich set of consumer features and services on top of the secure platform we have built.
What has changed: On August 29, 2017, BlackBerry began the migration process that will allow our strategic partner, Emtek, to license and operate the BBM Consumer service for Android, iOS and Microsoft devices while BlackBerry will own and continue operating the BBM Enterprise service for all platforms along with the BBM Consumer service for all BB10 and BBOS devices. The distinction between devices is important from a legal standpoint because BlackBerry cannot transfer the BBM user data associated with any BBM enterprise account, nor any BBM Consumer account for BB10 and BBOS devices to Emtek.
To be clear, regardless of your device and which BBM service you use, everyone will continue to be able to add and message their BBM contacts no matter what BBM service or device they have. That has not changed. It should also be noted that these changes impact a small number of BBM users.
BBM Enterprise users: The only change is that you can no longer migrate your BBM Enterprise account to a BBM Consumer account for Android, iOS and Microsoft devices using your existing BBID. It is also useful to point out that a unique and helpful feature coming soon for BBM Enterprise is Multiple Points of Presence (MPoP) which will allow you to have BBM Enterprise securely running on all your devices simultaneously using the same BBID.
BBM Consumer users on BB10 and BBOS: You can currently switch to an Android, iOS or Microsoft device using your existing BBID while maintaining all your contacts; however, you can no longer switch back to your BB10 or BBOS device using the same BBID. Also, beginning September 25, 2017 you will no longer be able to switch to an Android, iOS or Microsoft device using your existing BBID. You can continue to switch between BBOS and BB10 devices seamlessly using your existing BBID after September 25, but switching to an Android, iOS or Microsoft device following this date will require that you establish a new BBID and re-invite your contacts to this new BBM Consumer account.
BBM Consumer users on Android, iOS and Microsoft devices: You can continue using the same BBID and seamlessly switch between any Android, iOS and Microsoft device. However, you can no longer switch – using the same BBID – to a BB10 or BBOS device. To use BBM Consumer on a BB10 or BBOS device you will need to establish a new BBID and re-invite your contacts to this new BBM Consumer account.
For support in setting up a new BBID click here
With the separation of the services soon to be complete, we are confident that users of both BBM Enterprise and BBM Consumer will find a significantly improved experience that includes the most secure messaging platform for enterprises anywhere along with the rich set of features that we know consumers appreciate. Thank you again for your loyalty.
So the changes were made for valid and somewhat reasonable reasons and there are further changes that are coming that are going to prevent BBM consumer accounts on BlackBerry 10 from taking their BBID to an Android, iOS or Microsoft devices that have been announced in this post. That's all fine and well and yes, it still kinda sucks for those who switch devices often but it's a bit more understandable now.
However, the post doesn't address the main concern I personally had with the changes which were, uh, why weren't people told ahead of time? The post says that these changes impact a small number of BBM users, but still notification of the changes and a warning of the possible issues that could arise from the changes could have avoided this whole situation from actually being a situation.