BlackBerry Messenger to shut down in May, be replaced by enterprise version

BlackBerry Messenger for consumers will shut down at the end of May, nearly six years after it launched to the tune of more than 5 million downloads in its first 8 hours.

The closure of BlackBerry Messenger was announced through an official blog post by Emtek, the Indonesia-based conglomerate that took over development in 2016. Emtek attempted to keep the app relevant with modern features, but it appears that its efforts have fallen short.

“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,” Emtek wrote in the blog post.

According to the FAQ released for BlackBerry Messenger’s shutdown, people will be able to request refunds for BBM Stickers, but will not be able to do so for BBMoji. Existing rewards are also required to be redeemed by May 20, or else the accumulated points will be forfeited.

In addition, photos, videos, and other files shared through BlackBerry Messenger will only be available for download while the app is still running. Once it is shut down on May 31, the data will no longer be retrievable.

BlackBerry Messenger for consumers evolved into a bloated communications app in its attempt to keep up with rivals, and that was part of the reason for its shutdown, according to CrackBerry. However, in a way, the app is going back to its roots, as it was revealed that the much simpler, end-to-end encrypted BlackBerry Messenger Enterprise is being made available to the public.

BBMe, which can now be downloaded through the Google Play Store and eventually on Apple’s App Store, will be free for its first year, and will then require a six-month subscription for $2.49. It remains to be seen if people will choose to sign up for the messaging app when there are so many other options on the market.

BBMe may now be downloaded for the BlackBerry Key2 Red Edition, which has just arrived to the U.S. The security-focused smartphone, the successor of the BlackBerry KeyOne, may be purchased through Amazon and Best Buy for $700.

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