In what is really no major surprise, Emtek has announced that they will be closing BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) consumer service on 31 May 2019. To compensate, BlackBerry will open its enterprise-version of BBM to general consumers.
Users will no longer be able to access things like Channels, stickers, emojis, and other core BBM services. You can, however. get a refund for your in-app purchases via the Play Store process and you will be able to export all of your data for download (except for your contacts and feeds).
Your existing rewards need to be redeemed by 20th May 2019, or your accumulated points balance will be forfeited on the BBM service shut down date. Your DANA balance will remain (which you can access via the DANA app).
Emtek says that “users have moved on to other platforms” and that it was difficult to get new users to join the service.
“Since 2016 we have tried our best to compete in this market and launch many new features and content that we had hoped would grow the BBM user base,” they explain.
“Despite all of our efforts, we found that the network effect of the market leaders is getting stronger and we have been squeezed out of user preferences.”
Launched in 2005, BBM grew quickly to become the world’s most popular phone-to-phone messaging service, in the early days of smartphones. Like a lot of services/apps that RIM produced it was ahead of it’s time, but was left behind as other services appeared.
BlackBerry’s refusal to unbundle it from its own phones and take it cross-platform held it back and it was quickly eclipsed by services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Signal and many, many others.
By the time time the company decided to open it up to Android and iOS users in 2013, and then licensed the consumer BBM over to Emtek three years later, it was far too late – a familiar BlackBerry tale.