BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), one of the oldest instant messaging apps for phones, is finally shutting down. The consumer version of BBM will stop working from May 31.
Launched in 2005 by Research in Motion (later rebranded as BlackBerry), BBM was an instant hit among BlackBerry users. The instant messaging app allowed BlackBerry users to share emojis, stickers, photos, and texts. BBM is also considered as the original “mobile-first” instant messaging platform.
After Apple’s iPhones and Android smartphones became more popular, both BlackBerry and BBM lost major user base. Users flocked to other cross-platform and smarter apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
In 2013, BlackBerry rolled out BBM to iOS and Android platforms. This was the first time BBM was made available on non-BlackBerry devices. The app was downloaded over 10 million times in just a day of its release on Google and Apple platforms. After short-lived buzz, BBM’s popularity continued to fade.
“Three years ago, we set out to reinvigorate BBM consumer service, one of the most loved instant messaging applications, as a cross-platform service where users can not only chat and share life experiences, but also consume content and use payment services,” said BlackBerry in a blog post.
“We poured our hearts into making this a reality, and we are proud of what we have built to date. The technology industry however, is very fluid, and in spite of our substantial efforts, users have moved on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on. Though we are sad to say goodbye, the time has come to sunset the BBM consumer service, and for us to move on,” it added.
Emtek, which acquired the licensing rights of BBM, claimed the instant messaging application had over 60 million monthly users in Indonesia.
Even as consumer version of the application is shutting down, BlackBerry has made an enterprise version of BlackBerry Messenger available to general users through Google and Apple app stores. The application will be available for free in the first year after that it will be available for $2.49 for next six months. The enterprise BBM is available on Play Store and Apple App Store.