BlackBerry reaffirms intent to launch BBM for Windows Phone as service hits 85m users

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BlackBerry has reaffirmed its intent to launch its popular BBM messaging service on Windows Phone before July as the company seeks to focus more on the software as part of its long-term plan to rejuvenate the company.

We first heard about BlackBerry’s plans to bring BBM to Windows Phone when Jeff Gadway, the mobile firm’s head of product and brand marketing, announced the news on the BlackBerry blog in February.

While Gadway said it would land “in the coming months,” boss John Chen said in a conference call with investors last week the app is expected to launch in the April-to-June time frame.

The CEO also announced the app now has 113 million registered users and 85 million monthly active users. A Windows Phone version is sure to help boost these figures, especially as the app is set to come pre-loaded on a number of Nokia devices in select markets.

BBM has long been a hit with users of BlackBerry handsets, with versions for iOS and Android rolled out in October last year. As Windows Phone’s market share begins to push ahead of BlackBerry’s in several markets around the world, it of course makes sense for the Canadian mobile company to get the app out there on all major competing platforms at the earliest possible opportunity, especially as it forms part of Chen’s strategy to get BlackBerry back in the black in the next two years.

Monetization plans for BBM include ads in the form of sponsored channels to give brands the opportunity to connect directly with users, as well as sticker sales and a person-to-person money transfer service, currently undergoing trials in Indonesia.

BlackBerry’s reputation for offering a secure communications service could help such a financial service to gain traction with users in a relatively short space of time.

David Proulx, BlackBerry’s senior director of BBM business development, said as much in a recent interview, explaining, “Because we are by nature private and secure and reliable and regulator compliant, we are ideally suited to bring value in mobile money and financial services.”

Despite reporting a 64-percent year-on-year fall in sales for the three-month period ending March 1, Chen said last week the company is still on track to turn a profit in 2016.

Besides focusing on BBM, BlackBerry’s strategy also includes bolstering other enterprise-related services, cutting back its workforce, selling some of its real estate, and launching a number of new handsets.


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