BlackBerry will make its messaging service available on iOS and Android, it has announced. The firm’s BBM will be available as a free download this weekend. “With more than a billion Android, iOS, and BlackBerry smartphones in the market, and no dominant mobile messaging platform, this is absolutely the right time to bring BBM to Android and iPhone customers,” said Andrew Bocking, executive VP of the firm. Well, yes it is, but the once innovative messaging system has now been aped, emulated, and overtaken by most of its competitors.
Messenger, Facebook’s messaging service with a VoIP option lets you know when your message was received and if it was read–even if you don’t use Facebook–and iMessage sends messages to your iPad and laptop, as well as your phone. Even BlackBerry’s much-vaunted security aspect is but a distant dream, the crenellated stronghold of its encrypted servers observed by the Indian and some Middle Eastern governments and busted by the U.S.’s National Security Agency. And then there are, of course, the stand-alone apps, such as WhatsApp–which has had privacy issues of its own regarding user data.
With yesterday’s unpalatable news that up to 40% of the firm’s workforce may be axed by the end of the year, the question is, what is BlackBerry to become? The firm is up for sale, but as it currently stands, potential buyers may be getting nothing more than an app developer with a hardware firm attached to it. (Not to be confused with a software firm with a handset firm attached to it.)