Can Blackberry consolidate the global messaging market?




By Thea Neuman (Google)

BlackBerry Messenger or BBM, as it is popularly known, is quite possibly, going to be made available across all mobile platforms. This news has been received with much joy from consumers across all markets.

The BBM is a trendsetting messaging application that was almost single handedly responsible for sustaining RIM through some tough times. The popularity of BBM was such that even users of devices from several other platforms were demanding such an app for their Smartphone. Some others happily switched to the BlackBerry platform just to be able to use the BBM.

People have been clamoring that the BlackBerry be made available across all the other platforms too, almost since 2010. Sadly, the movement never got much attention from the RIM employees. Now, three years later, BlackBerry is taking some positive steps in this direction.

The BBM 10 application may now be brought to other platforms. BlackBerry 10 has ushered in a new era of the BlackBerry devices. Slowly but steadily, BlackBerry 10 devices are knocking on the doors of the market leaders until now. But when the talk turns to messaging applications, WhatsApp is now the most talked about.

WhatsApp has been growing exponentially over the past few months. Meanwhile, BBM has remained stagnant with the old “60 million users”. Some steps have to be taken soon to rectify this.

The best way for the BlackBerry platform to gain traction with a wider audience is to open up some of its flagship applications to other platforms. Android and iOS users can be brought into the picture easily considering the fame that BBM enjoys even to this day.

The only argument that rejects the possibility of bringing a cross-platform BBM is that it might cause some users to switch to the other platforms. This argument may not be entirely baseless. But the actual risk however, is smaller than we expect. Contact list sizes are not what they used to be.

With apps like LinkedIn, essential contact information may also be found in other platforms whenever needed.  Those who had to leave have already left the platform. The messaging platform really needs some amount of consolidation. The numbers of players that are currently competing in this market do not appear to be anywhere close to BBM’s reliability.

Can Blackberry consolidate the global messaging market? Business communications need high levels of security. Using WhatsApp and other such messaging applications for enterprise purposes may cause the CIO’s to lose sleep night and night again.

BBM can give all the functionalities offered on these messaging platforms and add an extra layer of security to boot. This makes it desirable device #1 for enterprise customers.

BlackBerry needs to seriously consider opening this app up to other platforms. Supposing BlackBerry manages to pull off this transition and have their app executing seamlessly on Android and iOS, it will see exponential growth.

The growth of the BBM user base can only mean one thing. People will certainly consider the BB 10 platform for their next device upgrade. The launch of the low cost BB 10 devices like the Q5 will also be able to deter the movement of consumers who prefer a low cost mobile. Low cost devices and wider coverage for BBM, BlackBerry couldn’t have asked for anything better.

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